The fantastic show

This is one of my favorites of our many azaleas, photographed in April 2008

This is one of my favorites of our many azaleas, photographed in April 2008

“There are some shrubs that seem to scream, ‘Look at me!’ With their showy flowers…planting just one of these shrubs can light up the whole yard…azaleas are sure bets for a spectacular flower show…Their intensity makes one stop and take notice and perhaps feel compelled to give Mother Nature a round of applause for the fantastic show.”Duncan Brine

I grew up in the South, and during the twenty years I lived far away from there, I suppose azaleas are near the top of the list of things I missed most.  The first springtime we spent in Virginia reminded me of just how much we’d been missing; I had forgotten how spectacular they can be.  They grow quickly and bloom brilliantly, with vivid colors that really to light up the landscape.

If azaleas can grow where you live, I highly recommend adding one for a spot of color where you’d most like to see it.  We have tried many varieties, including the “bloom again” types that will bloom in summer and fall as well as spring, but we find that these do not even come close to the flowers of springtime.  If you can’t grow azaleas where you live, plan to visit one of the fabulous gardens that feature them, such as Callaway Gardens in Georgia. Thanks to the internet, you can see the azaleas online even if you are too far away to visit them in person.

What shrubs bloom most brilliantly where you live?  Post a link in the comments below and we’ll all brighten the day today with splashes of color!


  1. Sheila

    Good Friday morning, Julia. Your photo is so lovely, showing the azalea’s beauty with the lush green background. I suppose spring really is a mood brightener as the colors usher in warmer temps. I love the pink azaleas, yellow forsythias and the lavender wisteria that seems to be everywhere at the moment. Happy Spring! Happy Friday! Sheila

    • Sheila, there are some lovely wisteria behind our Alexandria home and I just love they way they look. I saw some fabulous forsythias in DC recently, although they were totally upstaged by the cherry blossoms. I just love colors. It’s a good thing I am surrounded by males who want to keep the colors subdued or my home might end up looking almost psychedelic (remember that word?). I probably would have a Mary Englebreit theme in every room! Instead I just get my color fix outdoors, which is more practical anyway since it redesigns itself every year. Hope you and Bill have a great weekend!

      • Sheila

        Julia, I’m laughing since I do remember psychedelic and the times that went with it. Now, whether in our clothes, home decor, or flowers I hear the phrase, ” It pops!”.I like to add white to my flower beds as I think it has a visual cooling effect. I hope “Mr. Carlyle” is feeling better now.

        • Sheila, I used to have a Peter Max “LOVE” poster on my bedroom wall – and my bedroom was an electric yellow with shag carpet on the floor and white French Provincial furniture! Talk about retro! But actually it was quite elegant I thought – full window cornices and two closets, what’s not to like? 🙂 For the record, I DON’T miss the 60’s or 70’s! I keep hearing “it pops” too; it’s one of those fad phrases such as “going forward” or “it is what it is.” I agree, white flowers are a lovely touch. We have some white azaleas mixed in with the colorful ones, and the dogwoods are a nice accent when they are in bloom. Daddy is doing some better, but they won’t let him go home yet. Better safe than sorry. Happy weekend!

      • Carolyn

        Thanks for the beautiful picture. I love azaleas and mine have been so pretty. I have pink, white, red and lavender ones. Right now they are getting to much rain and will be looking pretty sad soon. We also have a tree in a back yard behind us that has wisteria. We just want it to stay in their tree and not come to ours. Our day is a very rainy one and very cool. I will be busy getting our things ready to go to Jennifer’s Monday morning. Have a great wel-end.

        • Carolyn, I have always heard that wisteria can be invasive, but I’d love to have some invade our yard! I hope you have a great time at Jennifer’s – safe travels!

      • Carolyn

        I guess I sent you enough stuff. I didn’t think the first one went and I couldn’t see all of it. Sorry !!!!

        • No problem, I can eliminate the duplicates and anyway, I always love hearing from you! 🙂

  2. I have always adored this flowers and did not know their name. Thanks for sharing

    • You’re welcome, Gwen! It’s nice to hear from you. Hope you are doing well.

  3. Indeed a spectacular show. I remember during the summer days the orange lilies used to bloom all over the village. They were really soothing to our eyes during the hot dry summers. Rest of the year there won’t be even a trace of the plants. It was magical!

    • I just love lilies. I have some I planted at home but I have never been able to get them to bloom, though the foliage is there each year. We are at the peak of azalea season now and it perks up my day each day. Hope you and your family have a lovely weekend!

  4. Gorgeous Julia. I’ve always admired them when my hubby watches golf from some southern state. We can’t manage them in Alberta, but do enjoy Lilac’s in the spring. I had both white and lavender and while they don’t last long after you cut them, their fragrance can fill a room.

    • Lilacs are heavenly, aren’t they? I’ve never had any but I have seen them and enjoyed their scent. I just love the fragrant flowers. Some of the botanical gardens we’ve visited have special sections for people with sight impairments, and they have all kinds of lovely smells. Today at the Virginia Garden Stroll in Yorktown (it was this week, not last week; I had the days confused) I stopped at an antique store that wasn’t on the tour, but should have been. She insisted I take a sprig of her lavender to keep with me. Gorgeous irises in all kinds of colors. It was a beautiful day to be strolling through Yorktown, a place I really love.

      • Sounds heavenly, you really are in a great part of the country to take in all kinds of fantastic events. I tried to do some antiquing in Napa, but I didn’t find much of anything. I spent $1.00 and two tiny photographs…LOL that’s a first. My neighbour Karen had a great bed of Iris’s and Lily. They’re one of my favourite spring flowering perennials. 😀

        • I don’t remember there being any antique places in Napa. We did get a lovely antique print from a store on the square in Sonoma, but of course, that was years ago. The best things in CA are free or at least relatively inexpensive (nature, weather, flowers year round) so it’s fitting that you didn’t end up spending much $! Just living and/or staying there costs a bundle though.

          • You’re right Julia, thanks for kindly reminding, nature, weather and year round flowers more than make up for the lack of antique shopping.

            • It’s a rainy, gloomy day here, so I am imagining myself in sunny CA today! Hope you are having a great time.

              • Thank you Julia, I’m having the time of my life and haven’t gotten to sharing any photo’s just yet, I hope to get on it soon xo. As you may have gathered, our sweet Alys is just about the nicest gal you’re ever going to meet and her boys are adorable too, I feel blessed. Sorry you’re having a rainy day, I’ll post some sunny pictures soon xoK

                • Thanks Boomdee, I knew CA would be the perfect place for your happy spirit, and Alys the perfect Californian for you to visit! Just from reading her blog, I can tell she is a great representative of all that is wonderful about the Left Coast! I will look forward to your posts!

  5. Sheila

    Julia, you are right. That was then and this is now. We can have a new fad phrase, “it was what it was.” Haha! Your room sounds so beautiful. Sheila

    • Sheila I totally love that. “IT WAS wHAT IT WAS.” I’m going to start saying that and if it catches on, we have proof it started here! 🙂 I wish I had taken some photos of my bedroom. I have only a couple where you can see parts of it. Needless to say, it was VERY bright when the sun came in and I need that to help me wake up!

      • Sheila

        We are so TOTALLY HIP!!!! Just ask us….

        • I can dig that :-).

  6. Rene

    Lilies! Yellow, orange, and orange/red. I’m not into white so much, but my mother-in-law has 3 or 4 of those little white lilies (?) with purple inside, planted alongside her walkway. I would come to get my boys after work & when those flowers were all in bloom on their tall green stalks, it just took my breath away.

    • Were they calla lilies, by any chance? Our first CA home (on the central coast) had a huge bed of them that ran all the way across the front of the house. I wasn’t so fond of them at first but I learned to love them. Besides being zero maintenance, they bloomed continuously, all year round, and really were lovely. Ours were white and like you, I don’t usually go for that color, but there is something very elegant about the calla lily. I do like the sunnier colors, though. I have some lilies planted on our lot but they won’t bloom (not enough sun). A friend gave them to me from where she divided hers, which were fabulous.

  7. Rene

    I tried to Google a picture, but I can’t find them so they’re probably not lilies. I guess a trip to the nursery is in order because the flowers I’m talking about are all over. I even have one growing in the strip of dirt where my hose leaks.

    • Hmmm, a mystery! Let me know if you find out what they are. Now I’m curious!


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