American Azalea Society convention planned at Summerville in March

The Rev. John Drayton Azalea Chapter of the American Azalea Society and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will host the society’s 2019 convention on March 14-16 in Summerville.

The convention, themed “Azaleas, History, and Sweet Tea,” is being held in Summerville because it is certified as an Azalea City and known as the home of sweet tea.

Convention speakers are: Dr. John Nelson, chief curator at the A.C. Moore Herbarium, Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina; Sidney Frazier, Middleton Place’s vice president of horticulture; native azalea expert Ernest Koone; and historic interpreters Dontavius Williams and Kirk Brown.

The convention will include a plant sale and garden tours of Middleton Place, Mepkin Abbey, the Charleston Tea Plantation and Magnolia. The Wyndham Garden Hotel and the Hampton Inn are the convention hotels.

The convention is open to the public. To register, go to

Tom Johnson, Magnolia’s executive director, is president of the local azalea chapter. “We are honored to have some of the top azalea experts coming to Summerville to experience the beauty of the gardens we have in the Charleston area.” The Rev. John Drayton Chapter hosted this convention five years ago in Charleston. This is the first time the convention is being staged in Summerville.

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