Happy I Was Wrong

“Happy I Was Wrong”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Spring flowers continue to show up. In fact, the last few days, I have been surprised more than once by new flowers. I’ll be watering the garden, look up, and am shocked to find a tree or shrub in bloom. I am beginning to think I am not the most observant person.

One of these “surprise” flowering shrubs is a native azalea (Rhododendron austrinum). Earlier this spring, I thought I only saw one flower bud on the bush and was so disappointed. I even considered digging it up and moving it somewhere less noticeable since it is taking up valuable space in a sunny area of the garden, and goodness knows, there are very few sunny spots in my garden. Since this is about the fourth year I have had this, I thought one flower cluster just wasn’t enough. Well, I don’t know if it read my mind or what, but all of a sudden this native azalea burst into bloom.

 

 

This native azalea is deciduous, and the brilliant golden blossoms have a lovely honeysuckle fragrance. As with all azaleas, this particular one likes acid soil, part sun, and moist but well-drained soil. Hardy to zone 6 and about six feet tall and two feet wide, this azalea makes a wonderful addition to a woodland garden.

This is still a small bush, but it is growing steadily every year. I am hoping in a few years, it will be large enough to really stand out in the garden.

I am so happy I was wrong, and that there was more than one bloom on this shrub this season.

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Peak Time

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

It is the peak time for the azaleas. With the cold winter we had, it seems the flowers are showier than they have been in years. Every neighborhood is awash in azaleas from the small varieties to the large shrub ones. In fact, whenever I see a large azalea, I am reminded of antebellum ladies with their large hoop skirts.

 

 

Mother Nature is certainly putting on quite a show this spring, and after such a dreary winter, everyone is very appreciative.

Easter Blooms

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

I thought there was a chance that the Easter lilies planted in the garden just might bloom in time for today, but no such luck. The lovely Florida Flame Azalea is taking the lilies place as the Easter bloomer. This azalea just started opening its flowers and is putting on quite a show of gold.

 

 

This is only about the third year this plant has been in our garden, and it is doing well. I can hardly wait to see it in a few years when it is bigger. It should really be a standout then.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter and is able to spend time with their loved ones. I know that is the most important thing to me – being with my family.

Marching Onward

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

Even with the small setback of colder temperatures this past weekend, spring is still marching onward. The first azalea flower has popped out.

 

 

Now, this is the only one so far, but the azalea buds are swelling, and it should not be too very long before there is that gorgeous burst of color that only azaleas can give. This year they are going to be blooming a little later than normal, but that’s okay. Maybe they will be around for Easter this year.

A Rose is a Rose – Not

“A Rose is a Rose – Not”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

When is a rose not a rose?  When it is a rosebud azalea. 

Just about the time that the Indica azaleas begin to fade, the rosebud azaleas start up.  These shrubs are called “rosebud” because their opening buds really do resemble a rosebud.  Even the double flowers seem to look like an opened rose.  The first one I bought was a lovely pink.  The first photo shows the bud stage, and the second an opened flower with a tiny tree frog tucked inside trying to keep warm after a cool night.

 

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Two years ago, I bought a purple rosebud called Amelia.  It, too, has the same rosebud look in a lovely spring color.

 

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Because of their unique flower shape, I think these azaleas are best planted where the flowers can be appreciated.  I planted mine in the front of the border so the flowers are noticed as soon as you walk by.  These azaleas are not very common yet, and they should be because they extend the azalea season and have lovely, different flowers.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

Rosebud Azaleas

This post, “Rosebud Azaleas” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

When the flowers on the azalea Rosebud open, they really do look like rosebuds.  The flowers are doubles, almost two inches across.   I bought my first one about 5 years ago.  It has rosy pink blooms and has grown to about three and a half feet tall.  When it does flower, it is covered with masses of blooms.   It blossoms a little after all the other azaleas do.  So far this year the buds are still closed tight.  I have this plant in the front of the border because it has flowers that need to be seen close up to be appreciated.  Everyone who see it is enthralled with the flowers, and I have even cut some flowers and put them in small vases for the house.  It looks like miniature roses arrangements.

Last year I found another one at a local garden show.   This one was called Amelia Rose.  It is a medium purple.  It is still a small plant (maybe 2 feet tall), but it is already blooming.  This one, too, I have placed in the front so that it can be seen easily.

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Both of these azaleas need the same growing conditions of all azaleas.  Give them well-drained, acidic soil, with some afternoon shade, and they thrive.  These two rosebud azaleas have become some of my favorite plants.