Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! The Jeli Botanical Garden in Hungary

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Eva Beke

My only experience with rhododendrons growing up was with the white azaleas (also a rhododendron!) in front of my parents’ house in Virginia. They’d look spectacular for about a week, and then their flowers would shrivel to a gross reddish brown and persist for months. My vague dislike lasted until last year, when I visited the garden of a rhody aficionado, Bob Stamper, in Pennsylvania during the high season. His collection knocked my socks off, and made me realize that there’s a whole world of rhodies out there that I’d never dreamed of. Well, Eva Beke has gone a long way to convincing me even further with the collection of photos she’s contributed for today’s post. She took these pics at the Jeli Botanical Garden in Hungary.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Eva Beke

Eva says, “They say each garden has its own season. Not this one, as the Jeli Botanical Garden has only its own month – perhaps even just a couple of weeks in May – when the garden’s huge collection of rhododendrons and azaleas are in full bloom. Their sweet, incomparable fragrance fills the air and leaves our senses in a lovely turmoil. Since I cannot enclose it, I am sending you some photographs of these beauties.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Eva Beke

“The garden was founded by Count Dr. István Ambróczy-Migazzi in 1922. After some rather sad years, today it is a Natural Reserve Area opened to the public.”

Gorgeous, Eva! I am 1/4 Hungarian…perhaps I should use “exploring my roots” as an excuse to visit this beautiful place… NOTE: we featured Eva’s personal garden in Hungary back in April. Refresh your memory HERE.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Eva Beke
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Eva Beke
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Eva Beke
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Eva Beke
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Eva Beke

Last week I offered free gardening books to 10 random people who submitted photos to the GPOD. Here’s who won! (Everyone sent in amazing photos! You’ll be seeing a lot of these names again in the next few days…)

Carol Jannello-Leaman: Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden, by Andrea Bellamy
Julie Witmer: Backyard Harvest: A Year-Round Guide to Growing Fruits and Vegetables, by Jo Whittingham
Ann Crane: Small Plot, High-Yield Gardening: How to Grow Like a Pro, Save Money, and Eat Well by Turning Your Back (or Front or Side) Yard Into an Organic Produce Garden, by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan
Judy Burton: The Zero-Mile Diet: A Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food, by Carolyn Herriot
Amanda Hall: The City Homesteader: Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage, by Scott Meyer
Michael Post & Veronica Guyre: Homegrown Harvest: A Season-by-Season Guide to a Sustainable Kitchen Garden, by the American Horticultural Society and Rita Pelczar
Jo-Ann Clark: How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You can Imagine, by John Jeavons
Christine Bosacki: The Kitchen Garden: A Complete Practical Guide to Planting, Cultivating, and Harvesting Fruits and Vegetables, by Alan Buckingham
Marilyn Sherman: Vertical Vegetables & Fruit: Creative Gardening Techniques for Growing Up in Small Spaces, by Rhonda Massingham Hart

Keep sending in photos, folks! I’ll have more stuff to give away in a few weeks, I’m sure, but don’t be holding off til then….  🙂


View Comments


  1. tractor1 05/22/2012

    That's a magnificent display but so unatural showcased in a forest path, that couldn't exist in a real forest, the critters would fress them all. I often dream of planting out my wooded areas with flowering shrubs but alas, I know it would be all in vain, those plantings wouldn't survive the first night. Obviously that entire area is well fenced... and all the native under story plants have been removed (so sad). I could fence too but then without the critters I'd not want to live here.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/22/2012

    Well, for me, such perfection is a treat to see even if it's only via pictures. Each click flooded my senses with delight and appreciation...for the beauty of nature and mankind's urge to enhance when possible. Some of those rhodie blooms look like exotic orchids.

  3. pattyspencer 05/22/2012

    I love it! Don't care if it's showcased (and valid points are made regarding the native understory plantings)it still presents a beautiful eye soothing picture(s)

    Tractor1 - cool deer pic today!! I'm guessing that pic was taken from your porch?

  4. PeonyFan 05/22/2012

    Beautiful! It's wonderful that a way was found to preserve this garden.

  5. Wife_Mother_Gardener 05/22/2012

    Eva, Thank you for sharing this beautiful garden! It is inspiring.

  6. tractor1 05/22/2012

    pattyspenser: Yes, the deer picture was taken from my back deck, a young buck begging for bread and carrots, I have many critter pictures, I offer all snacks but I don't feed them, I don't need to, there is plenty of natural food growing here. It's been raining in the Catskills, it's raining now, everything is green and lush, unfortunately there's been too much rain for me to begin my vegetable garden, it's literally under water. My vegetable garden is about 15' from a natural spring fed stream so during times of normal weather and even droughts I don't need to water, but in spring even before the ground has dried from the melting winter snows when there are days of rain my stream becomes a small river... I'll have to wait, it will dry soon. -- I did say that's a magnificent display, unfortunately very commercial, Disneylandish, obviously with several grounds keepers attending. I think they would have done those flowering shrubs more justice had they spaced them further apart leaving native plants between, it would look much more like a real forest path, just my opinion.

  7. olympic_mtn_gardener 05/22/2012

    Like Michelle, I was not much of a rhododendron aficionado growing up, but my mind was changed by lovely gardens such as the one featured here. I’m sure this garden is a beautiful place even when the rhododendrons are not in bloom. Planting rhododendrons does not necessarily replace native understory plants, but can be used to complement them. In the Pacific Northwest, rhododendrons will grow as understory plants where nothing native will grow other than moss and woodland violets, due to dense shade. The native rhododendron grows along the edge of forests or in dappled shade, but many non-native large leaf rhododendrons will grow in very shady conditions. And unlike many other plants, critters do not touch rhododendrons.

  8. cstewart12 05/22/2012

    Tractor1 you are correct, it is a magnificent display. I live in the Pacific Northwest and I have trails all around my area where the deer, rabbits, black bear, and the coyotes abound. They leave the rhodys alone because they are poisonous. If the critters do try them out they will be in agony within a few hours and I can almost guarantee they will not eat them again. The rhody's here are NOT showcased nor are these areas fenced! That is why they call the NATIVE PLANTS. Also there are many varieties of rhodys and the bloom times can be in Feb all the way to the fall. Weather also affects bloom time as does placement of the plants. If planted in the full sun they usually bloom earlier than those planted in the shade.

    Please, please, please....everyone....if you can't say/write something nice don't say/write anything.

  9. tractor1 05/23/2012

    Plants that are toxic to humans are not necessarilly toxic to deer. Deer will definitely browse rhododendren and azaela, during severe winters they will nibble them to the ground. Hungry deer will eat everything.
    There are plenty more web sites that concur.

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