Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting for the Spring Azalea Show

Pink Ruffles, not yet to the peak of bloom. Brisk wind from NE.
I can never wait to reveal the big show all at once.

Azalea walk along the north driveway. When I planted Gardenias in at the bottom of the slope, I didn't expect they would reach 7 feet tall. Last year I cut them back by a third after bloom. They grew right back.

At top of the stone steps a secret path winds through the azaleas into what I call the Upper Garden.

The path turns west toward what used to be an herb garden, now a mass of Rosemay bushes and along a brick-lined path leading back down more rough steps.

View in the opposite direction.

North to south path back to driveway. Two paths intersect.

 Path from the steps comes out here. Where? It wouldn't be a secret path if you can see it right off.
Wire flamingo pinwheels mark where Royal Standard Hostas emerge when they're ready.

 Farther back Upper Garden side of the Azalea Walk. We're looking west again, toward a bench.

Rustic bench with Formosa Azaleas, rooted cuttings from Azaleas here for more than fifty years.

Looking back from front of the bench. The Azalea Walk started in 1994 with 17 rooted Pink Ruffles Azalea cuttings from our previous home. Dogwoods grew from seeds I stuck in the ground.

Pink Pearl

The Big Show does not reveal itself all at once. Azaleas in two beds on the north side of the Upper Garden under deciduous oaks bloom later than those under pines.  

Azalea Show lasts less than a month, but worth waiting for every year. It took years for me to learn to add Lorpetalum with its longer bloom time and Philadelphus to keep a show of white Dogwood-type  blooms going later into Spring.


  1. Managing the sequence of blooms is one of the biggest challenges of gardening. I'm not even close to figuring it out. Mine is a scattershot approach, I just plant lots of stuff and then tweak. Azaleas and rhodies all have such pretty, brightly colored flowers.

  2. Learning sequence of bloom was especially hard for me until I stopped reading articles written by authors who gardened elsewhere. Some places everything makes one big Spring show, one big Summer show where everything blooms at once. We have early spring with bulbs, mid spring with Azaleas, late spring with Roses and Lilies and so on. Then the weather changes and things bloom at the wrong time, or not at all. It's all fun.

  3. I am still in the trial and error stage, getting to know a new climate for me. And it's so true, just when you think you've set up a good sequence of blooms the weather throws you a curved ball and all the planning goes out of the window.
    What you have created is absolutely stunning Jean. If I can do something half as good I'll be thrilled.

  4. Oh Jean ~ I just love your place!!!

    I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to walk around in all of that beauty!

    You inspire me!

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

  5. Your Azalea Walk is incredible - it's wonderful that you had the foresight, as well as the space, to get it started in 1994. I had a few Azalea at our old house but inherited none with this one and haven't yet added any - those I had at the old place seemed to be magnets for thrips and the hot winds in our current location don't make this environment particularly hospitable.

  6. Beautiful, beautiful, even it isn't
    at its peak. I love your gardening style. How on earth do you keep the path it would be sprouting Bermuda grass and myriad other weeds within days of warm weather.

    I quit reading gardening mags a few years ago.......


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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