Located behind the caretaker’s cabin, just above the exit road beside Candy Flats and past the upper pond is Holsomback Rhododendron Garden. It is a tribute to Olin and Louise Holsomback whose generous contribution of hybrid azaleas and rhododendrons to Reflection Riding will stand protected for generations to come. The garden is situated so that all who come through the Riding may easily enjoy it. Its proximity to the driving road allows even those in their cars a brilliant view of the unique specimens, although the finest, up-close view is afforded on foot by the Profile Trail.
Olin and Louise donated approximately thirty specimens from their extensive collection of azaleas and rhododendrons (including Asian, North American and some of his favorite hybrid species) to Reflection Riding in 1994 when the construction of the US 27 Bypass around the Chickamauga Battlefield threatened to destroy his unique and lovely collection. His hope was that they would be forever preserved from future destruction and located where the public could appreciate their unique features – thus preserving his legacy to the plant world.
Adjacent to Holsomback Garden is the Reflection Riding Glenn Dale Azalea collection. Joe Shield, former landscape manager and board member of Reflection Riding, with the help of the National Arboretum established a southern resource garden for Glenn Dale Azaleas. These azaleas are a hybrid group of evergreen azaleas. The best parent plants were bred to produce larger flowers, new color patterns, increased bloom time and greater cold hardiness. The National Arboretum’s 25 year program involved hundreds of crosses, produced some 70 thousand seedlings and resulted in 454 new evergreen azalea cultivars. The Riding’s collection is adjacent to the Holsomback Rhododedron Garden along the exit road, bordering Candy Flats.