Early Arrival

“Early Arrival”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana  


Look what I found in the garden today.  It is hard to believe that just three days ago, we had a hard freeze here in Louisiana, and now there are azaleas blooming.




These azaleas always bloom first, but I can hardly believe how fast they have opened.  These buds had to be showing a great deal of color when the freeze hit, but the flowers show no hint of damage.  There were several other tender perennials that I thought surely would have bit the dust with over four hours of sub-freezing temperatures, but they didn’t.  There must be more microclimates around the house than I was aware of.  However, it is the azaleas with their very delicate, tissue-thin flowers that really surprise me by making it through a freeze with no damage.




Not all the azaleas are in bloom.  The ones on the north side of the house have big buds, but they are tightly closed with not a hint of color.  We have had two days with temperatures in the high 70’s and several more are predicted.  This just may be enough warm weather to cause plants to break dormancy.  If that happens, I sure hope we have seen the last of the freezing temps.   Our usual last frost date is March 1st, and that is only three weeks away.  I sure hope the azaleas’ blooming means spring will arrive early this year.



  1. Tessa said,

    February 8, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Wow! 70’s! Nice 🙂 It sure warmed my little winter heart to see your blooms- Thanks for posting these.

    • Jan said,

      February 8, 2009 at 8:30 pm

      I feel for you, Tessa. At least we are getting a break from the cold. I also feel for the still snow-covered gardens and their gardeners.

  2. tina said,

    February 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    They must have antifreeze in their veins not to be damaged. I am with you, I hope no freezing temps come like we had in 2007.

  3. Sue said,

    February 8, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I hope your weather stays more seasonal. I love your last frost date. Ours here in Nebraska is May 16.

  4. Raffi said,

    February 9, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Beautiful, and it just reminds me that soon it will be time to plant the vegetable garden 🙂

  5. February 9, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Oh NO Jan! This is not fair….I’m just so jealous. They are wonderful, now we have to hope that the warm weather lasts.
    I have sun here today 🙂 but it is still freezing cold -3 C although it is pretty.

    Have a great week/ Tyra

  6. Jan said,

    February 9, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Tina, you are right; we have had some late freezes that entailed me cutting some azalea branches to bring inside cause I knew they’d be toast by the next morning. It is rare, but it has happened.

    Sue, May 16th?!? Well, just remember when we are sweltering in the heat down here, you will still have some cool temps. I do wish I could grow some of your plants that need colder temps than we can give them.

    Raffi, yes, it will be time soon. Already the stores here are bringing out the vegetable plants. Sunday I saw they had tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. I think it is a tad early, but all this week we are in the high 70’s, so maybe not.

    Tyra, there may be one down side to this, and it is that spring flowers may bloom all at once and over a shorter period. That would be disappointing, but I’ll take it over your cold temperatures. Enjoy my flower pictures until your flowers show up.

  7. andré said,

    February 9, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Wow, lucky you! Those azaleas are fantastic! (Before I read this, I was happy for my few blooming snowdrops!)

  8. February 9, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Gorgeous pinks, Jan! So does this mean winter’s receding and it’s gonna be sunny days?

  9. February 9, 2009 at 9:18 am

    So delicate looking azaleas really have a tough nature and still open beautifully, Jan? That didn’t happen with iris buds here – they froze and then disintegrated. But a few wiser bud stalks lurk near the base. Happy almost spring.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  10. Randy said,

    February 9, 2009 at 9:39 am

    It’s almost as if we are a month and a half a head of schedule or something.

  11. nancybond said,

    February 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    What a beautiful colour! I’ve had a peachy-apricot azalea before — I’ve never seen one quite this pink. Beautiful!

  12. Jan said,

    February 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Andre, we seem to be having an early spring. Early, even for us here on the Gulf Coast where we have no where near your cold temperatures.

    Chandramouli, I think we have just about had all the cold weather we will get. There are just too many signs that winter seems to be over. The goldfinches have just about left, I have even seen a few sulfur butterflies out and about.

    Annie, no one is more surprised than I am that these azalea flowers evidently made it through a freeze in bud stage. What a shame about the irises. That is so disappointing when a once a year bloomer has a close call and doesn’t make it. Hopefully, the wiser buds will survive to put on a display.

    Randy, I think you are right. Even though this winter seemed consistently colder than usual, it seems spring will come early this year.

    Nancy, when the azaleas are in full bloom, it is a gorgeous sight. Here there are all shades of pink from light pastel to dark pink. There has been a great deal of work with azaleas lately, and the colors are fantastic.

  13. Racquel said,

    February 10, 2009 at 6:25 am

    I wish my last frost date was March 1st Jan! Ours is April 10th I believe. No Azaleas blooming yet but they are one of the first things to bloom in the spring along with the Forsythia. 🙂 Yours are gorgeous!

    • Jan said,

      February 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm

      Racquel, the azaleas in New Orleans (which is about 30 miles south of me and zone 9) are in full bloom. I mean the whole bush is in bloom. Our plants are a little behind them because we get a little colder. I know it won’t be long before I’ll be seeing photos on your blog with spring bloomers. Just keep the faith.

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