Update BRG Rhododendron Garden Tour May 2010 Info
This year (2008), the rhododendrons are still in bud at Mississauga's (Ontario) Rhododendron Gardens. Yesterday, I took these pictures of the forsythia, and what I believe are azaleas. I know azaleas thrive in similar conditions to, and flower around the same time as rhododendrons, as I grew both shrubs in my garden in New Brunswick.
And although the flowers can appear similar to one another (there are just so many varieties of both shrubs), I heard that the simple way to tell the difference is that azalea blossoms come out before their leaves open. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Please! Based on that criteria, the pink blooming shrub - trees in the picture should be azaleas.
Forsythia, too, is in full glory at the Rhododendron Gardens, and with the sun shining full upon it at noon, it was so bright, it almost hurt your eyes to look at it. The picture above is taken up the path from Lakeshore Road in Mississauga, at the park entrance at Shawnmarr Road.
The above picture shows some scale, as daughter Jen stops to let me take a photo. In this view, I am facing towards Lake Ontario, the opposite way as the first photo. Early spring wedding parties looking for photo locations should be aware that, although the spring blooms are lovely, the air is very chilly still here in Port Credit and a brisk wind has been blowing off the lake most days.
I did take a close up of one of the blossoms of this tree - shrub above, but a gust of wind shifted the focus, so it didn't turn out. The rhododendrons are in full bud, and one variety may have been in bloom. Most of them seem to be a few weeks from opening, so I'll check again every few days.
It would be most helpful if the City of Mississauga Parks and Rec put identifying labels on all the plants in the gardens. This park is a fine example of one of the last remnants of Carolinian forest in Ontario, and many of us have not seen Carolinian plants (see Carolinian forestbooks).
For my rhododendron pictures (and links to Mississauga parks) from last spring, see Rhododendron Park in Mississauga.
Learn more about rhododendrons from books about rhododendrons.
UPDATE: Rhododendron Garden Tour