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Pink and white azaleas

If you love azaleas or want to know more about them, the Azaleas 101 Workshop is the educational program of the year for you to attend. This workshop will be hosted on the Auburn University campus by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabamense chapter of the Azalea Society of America. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and hear from local and national azalea experts.


When: Tuesday, April 2, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Where: Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment Building, 602 Duncan Dr., Auburn, AL 36849. Registered guests can park across the street in the South Quad Parking Deck.

Cost: $10. Lunch and refreshments are included in the registration cost, thanks in part to local sponsors and supporters.


There are a limited number of spots available, so preregistration is required to attend. To register, visit the Alabama Extension Store at www.aces.edu/go/store or at the link below. Azalea Society of America members will need register online at www.azaleas.org as part of the 2024 convention registration.

Register Online


A collage of native azaleas including Piedmont, Florida, Oconee, and Plumleaf.

Native Azaleas: Piedmont Azalea (top left), Florida Azalea (top right), Oconee Azalea (bottom left), and Plumleaf Azalea (bottom right).

There will be four featured presentations that will cover information on evergreen azaleas, native azaleas, propagating azaleas, and photographing azalea flowers. An azalea plant sale will also be held at the end of the workshop, so attendees can take home a souvenir. Hold all questions until the end of each session.

  • 8:30 a.m.
    • Registration and Refreshments
  • 9 a.m.
    • Welcome
    • Charles Andrews
  • 9:15 a.m.
    • Evergreen Azaleas
    • Buddy Lee and Shane Harris
  • 10:15 a.m.
    • Break
  • 10:30 a.m.
    • Native Azaleas
    • Patrick Thompson and John Torbert
  • 11:30 a.m.
    • Lunch
  • 12:15 p.m.
    • Propagation Techniques—Group Discussion and Activity
    • Shane Harris, Buddy Lee, John Torbert, Patrick Thompson, Charles Andrews, Ronnie Palmer, Dale Berrong, and Chip East
  • 1:45 a.m.
    • Break
  • 2 p.m.
    • Photographing Azalea Flowers
    • John Rhodenizer
  • 3 p.m.
    • Azalea Plant Sale
    • Outdoor Pavilion
  • 3:30 p.m.
    • Adjourn/Dismiss to Hotel

Download a PDF of the Azaleas 101 Workshop agenda. 

Featured Speakers and Supporters

Charles Andrews is the president of the Azalea Society of America (ASA). He is passionate and knowledgeable about native azaleas, especially those found growing wild in north Georgia, where he resides. Andrews has enjoyed and roamed the woods in search of native azaleas for over 40 years.

Robert “Buddy” Lee is a nationally known plant breeder and currently serves as director of Plant Innovations for PDSI, the new plant innovation company that manages Encore Azalea and the Southern Living Plant Collection. He has over 30 years of experience in nursery management, breeding, propagation, and new plant development.

Shane Harris is the Tallapoosa County Extension coordinator for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, where he specializes in home horticulture education. He loves growing and photographing azaleas and collects historic evergreen azaleas. He currently serves on the board of directors for the ASA.

Patrick Thompson serves as the curator of special collections at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum located on the campus of Auburn University, which is home to the Auburn native azaleas series. Thompson is also the coordinator of the Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance and an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist.

John Torbert is a registered forester and an expert in forest soils, silviculture, and forest finance, with over 20 years of forest industry experience. He is passionate about native azaleas and has grown and propagated them successfully over the last few years. Torbert is president of the Alabamense chapter.

Ronnie Palmer, a member of ASA, lives in Arkansas, where he grows and sells evergreen azaleas, specializing in Glenn Dale and Satsuki cultivars. He has been growing and propagating azaleas since 1975. He is the president of the Arkansas chapter.

Dale Berrong, a member and past director of ASA, resides in north Georgia and grows and propagates numerous native azaleas, evergreen azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias. He has been interested in plants, propagation, and gardening for over 20 years.

Chip East is a commercial horticulture regional agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, with over 35 years of experience with nursery and landscape plants. He learned plant propagation techniques as a teenager working at a local plant nursery.

John Rhodenizer is a sales manager and photo editor at Cameragraphics in Auburn. He has over 50 years experience in photography and has taught many courses and classes on basic photography, cameras and equipment, and advanced editing techniques.

More Information

For more information on the Azaleas 101 Workshop, contact Harris at harria5@auburn.edu or (256) 596-1363. The Azaleas 101 Workshop is being held prior to the 2024 Azalea Society of America national convention, which will be held April 2-4 in Auburn, Alabama. More information about becoming an Azalea Society of America member and the 2024 national convention can be found at www.azaleas.org.

Alabamense Chapter of Azalea Society of America logo