Established in 1959, Brighton Dam’s Azalea Garden is home to over 20,000 azalea bushes over 5 acres in a hardwood forest. Kousa dogwood trees were added in the 1990’s and the garden is also home to Montgomery County’s champion fringe tree.
The idea for the garden was from WSSC Commissioner Raymond Bellamy. WSSC Watershed Manager Paul Hancock led the work as the garden was planted in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. An updated gazebo was installed by WSSC watershed staff in 2012. Ben Morrison was the former Chief of the Plant Introduction Section and Director of the National Arboretum, United States Department of Agriculture. Glenn Dale, MD is the location of USDA’s Plant Introduction Section and Morrison named the variety of azalea in honor of the community.
Azaleas are not the only thing that thrive in the garden. Maryland's state champion fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) calls the Azalea Garden its home.
Recently, WSSC has planted several new beds, including one devoted to deciduous azaleas and another bed filled with Gable Hybrid “Karen” azaleas. The majority of the azaleas in the garden bloom around Mother’s Day.
The azalea garden is available for rental. Contact Brighton Dam’s Visitor Center at (301) 206-7485 for more information.
Azalea Garden Photo Gallery
Specific Varieties of Azaleas in the Garden
Glenn Dale Azaleas
- Glacier - Very large, leafy green plant, white bloom - midseason.
- Coral Bells - Shell pink, shaded darker, early.
- Hino Crimson - Single, brilliant red, non-fading, early.
- Hinodegiri - Single, brilliant scarlet, heavy bloomer, early.
- Hinomayo - Single, soft pink, foliage small, plant tall, early.
- Pink Pearl - Salmon rose, with light centers, early.
- Salmon Beauty - Salmon pink, light green foliage, early.
- Salmon Queen - Large plant, salmon colored blossoms - very late.
- Snow - Snow white, very compact growth, early.
Joseph Gable Azaleas
- Herbert - Semi double, large frilled and ruffled, dark crimson, purple, midseason.
- Royalty - Double, bright purple, midseason.
Mollis Azalea Hybrids
We have a few deciduous varieties planted near the main entrance to the gardens. These plants are upright and tall, with very large flowers and a very striking range of colors from yellow orange to orange red. They are midseason bloomers.
Azaleas - Miscellaneous, Hybrids and Others
- Indica Rosea - Large flowers, flushed pinkish white, midseason.
- Indica Alba - single, pure white, broad grower, late.
- Indica magnifica - Single, large flowers, spotted and flushed with pink, late.
- Macrantha - Single, salmon red, very late.