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!

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    I love that variety! What a pretty color and flower shape!
    My plum is just starting to blossom, and I’m expecting lilac blossoms SOON!.
    The wind was blowing yesterday, and it made me feel that the world is shaking itself awake after winter. A delightful day, and no mosquitos yet to speak of.

    • WOW, your plum is just now blooming? I have one at York county that must be incredibly early blooming. This year it had blossoms in February! They don’t last very long, though. Today was quite chilly after a hot day (near 80 degree temperatures) yesterday. I don’t even want to THINK about mosquitoes. Do you have much of a problem with them? I use dunkers in my rain barrels at the York home. I probably should keep some on hand at the NoVa home as well. The last thing we need is mosquito-borne illness!

      • Yes, the plum blossoms are lovely, and we’re still waiting for the lilacs!
        We do get a lot of mosquitos. They seem larger and hardier here than in the South, but maybe that’s just perception?
        I had not heard of “dunkers” but I don’t have a rain barrel. It seems like a good idea, though, both the rain barrel and mosquito control!

        • Ah, lilacs! I’ll bet the scent is heavenly. I don’t know whether the mosquitoes are bigger in the south, but they have a longer season since we get so much warm weather, just as in the tropics they are a year-round problem. Dunkers are nontoxic way to eliminate larvae anywhere you have standing water. I’m totally fanatic about going around and emptying my flowerpots, saucers, etc. or anything else outside that catches water, as the mosquitoes can breed even in tiny pools.

          • Wow, thanks for the link to the cool website!
            My mom used to work in a lab for FMC in New Jersey where they were doing testing to identify ways to kill mosquito larvae. Her heart was really into that job, as she has always battled mosquitos (they seem especially drawn to her). It’s so great that these folks have found an ecology safe answer!
            I’m making a mental inventory of my property, and I can’t think of even one place to put a dunker, but if I get a rain barrel, I’ll certainly know what to do!!

            • Susan, it certainly does seem to me that mosquitoes prefer some people over others. Jeff hardly ever got bitten by anything, but get eaten alive. He also did not react to poison ivy the way I did. He was so healthy and strong, until he wasn’t.

              • Yes, a friend from a group with which I used to hike sent us all a helpful link to an article that explained why mosquitos prefer feet, ankles and underarms. Helpful, but maybe a bit insulting to one poor woman who was constantly being inundated by mosquitos! I do think that I actually experienced fewer bites myself, just hiking with her – but maybe there are just fewer mosquitos in places where we went hiking.

                • I can’t remember ever having a mosquito bite in my underarm, and very few on my feet. Ankles are a frequent target because they are so exposed. I’ve taken to wearing socks when I work outside, even when it’s hot, and long pants and sometimes even long sleeves. On me, mosquitoes and other insects seem to go for whatever is available, even the face and neck.

  2. Chris

    Julia, love the azaleas. 🌸 So many of our plants have died over the years. Don’t know why. But we still have quite a few, and when they bloom, along with other shrubs/flowers in the yard, it really is spectacular. Unfortunately, it only lasts a couple weeks.
    You and Shelia really had a dialogue going! It “was what it was”! I like it too! 😊

    • Chris, I am starting to think that plants, even the best and strongest, have a natural life span. I’ve watched shrubs that were once splendid grow gradually straggly and eventually die, without any obvious signs of disease. Others never do thrive, and still others get a whole new lease on life if we move them (even just a few feet away) from where they are struggling to the point of being moribund. One thing about gardening is that the disappointments are always punctuated by delightful surprises!

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