Flowering azaleas have always been a part of my spring: the blooms of the pure Snow White, the brilliant Hershey Red, and the bright pink Coral Bells. Okay, I’m through with azalea name-dropping. Those are the only three I know offhand.
My mother and grandmothers, on the other hand, could have rattled off the names of a dozen varieties. See, the azalea has always been a popular item in the landscape of eastern North Carolina. There aren’t many yards owned by the natives in our part of the state that don’t have at least one species of this flowering shrub. Down East folks, as we like to call ourselves, grew up with azaleas, often planted in the acidic soil around tall skinny pine trees.
I’ve got a mix of old and new in my yard, some that were already planted when I became the fourth owner of my current home and some that I’ve planted myself. My azaleas are a hodgepodge of colors, too, mainly because when I visit a nursery in the spring, I lose any practical landscaping plan I have to coordinate hues, and just buy what appeals to me at the moment.
Of course, can you purchase an ugly azalea? I’ve never seen a healthy blooming one of any species that wasn’t lovely. And putting red next to white looks fine to me.
My neighbor’s yard across the street is so spectacular I dropped her a note telling her so. She’s gone with the all-one-color look, and those white azaleas really set off that pink dogwood in the midst. I didn’t do a bit of work on this yard, yet I get to enjoy a ringside view.
Although I’ve privately declared my neighbor the winner of “Yard of the Month,” my whole neighborhood is beautiful this time of year. If only the blooms could last through summer….
To read more about the signs of spring where I live, click on http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/Patsy-Pridgen