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Expert to share passion for flowers Feb. 7 in Gainesville
Charles Andrews took this photo of an R. calendulaceum during his explorations of the Hurricane Creek in Lumpkin County.

Native azaleas flourish throughout Hall County, and Charles Andrews has roamed the hills and valleys of Georgia for 35 years with his notebook, jeweler’s loupe and camera in hand to search and identify them all. 

Now, Andrews will share his experiences and passion for those flowers at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Redbud Project meeting of Georgia Native Plant Society. The free meeting is open to the public in Swetenberg Hall at First Presbyterian Church, 800 S. Enota Drive NE, Gainesville.

Andrews and his wife, Mardi, propagate hundreds of native azaleas in their Forsyth County garden with special concern for low-maintenance and year-round interest. He also is president of the Azalea chapter of the American Rhododendron Society and has published in the Journal American Rhododendron Society, The Azalean and magazine of ASA. He is compiling his work in a book to be published on native azaleas.

From his lifelong hobby of trout fishing in Georgia mountains, Andrews became enamored with native azaleas. He has studied them in the wild and through literature with the diligence of a retired engineer, U.S. Air Force systems commander, and systems analyst. In his explorations in the Hurricane Creek area of Lumpkin County, he has discovered an incredible display of native azaleas with an unusual amount of natural hybridization.

For more information about Andrews and the Redbud Project, visit