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      Middleton Place: Mild winter means colorful spring

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Middleton Place is in full bloom, and after a mild winter, horticulturists predict a long and colorful azalea season at the plantation.

      Sidney Frazier, the vice president of horticulture for Middleton Place, explains that the mild winter temperatures protected azaleas from damaging freezes. Azaleas now join camellias that have been flourishing all winter and that are expected to continue blooming for some time to come.{}

      "The usual chilly winters have become unusually warm," he said.{} "It's going to be pretty exciting here this spring.{} The camellias are looking really fantastic right now, with tons of buds still waiting to blossom.{} Varieties of red, white, and pink azaleas and camellias make a potent mixture. All the colors are creating a brilliant painting on the canvas of the gardens."

      Recent spring rains have further helped the flora at Middleton Place to look fresh and new.{}

      "The blooms take up a lot of food and energy, so the rain has helped a lot," Frazier said.

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