Posts Tagged With: rhododendron austrinum

The Many Beautiful Azaleas Blooming Today in My Mississippi Yard

 

This post will be brief. It is azalea season throughout the South. Even ratty, unkempt, abandoned homes, boast some gorgeous flowering azaleas right now. In the rear of the above photo is a deep burgundy-colored azalea. I forgot to get a close-up this morning.

Right now I feel I should be hosting a garden party every day. The vast array of colorful azalea flowers makes my head spin on a good day.

 

Most of the azaleas in my yard were here when we moved into the home; however, we have planted perhaps another dozen. Two dozen? Maybe.

 

Early morning and evening as the sun goes down are the most breathtaking, especially when you observe the flowers with the light coming through the petals.

I even enjoy “plain” white. It provides good contrast to all the other colors and is brilliant in its own right.

My favorite by far is my native Florida flame azalea (Rhodendron austrinum). It is a deciduous azalea and has grown quite a bit in the last five or six years. I haven’t babied it.

I keep it mulched and have fertilized it maybe twice since I planted it. I never water it, other than when I first planted it. A great return on the investment of a one gallon plant.

A lot of people here cut their azaleas back, I guess to renew them. It isn’t necessary, but to each their own. I’ve seen folks cut back 8′ tall plants to a foot or so. The horror! But eventually they leaf out, produce a lot of new growth, and flower again.

Maybe some of mine could use a whacking. But even my leggiest azaleas grow to their own heart’s desire.

I do have two plants that I prune back a bit every other year or so but that is because they are planted in a bed and have thinned out to the point where you can “see under their skirt”. And they are planted with other ornamentals that have suffered when they are shaded by the straggly and rapidly growing azaleas which tower above. So I give them a little chop chop, after they finish flowering in April.

I have quite an “investment” in azaleas now.

Many of them I received for free from a friend. So I do not know “varieties”. Sometimes that is a bit irksome. Indeed, I do have a few young plants with the tags still attached and I need to write those down and transfer the names to a metal sign.

Some of these larger azaleas are so commonly seen around, I figure they must be old varieties that were very popular in the 70s and 80s.

One color I am lacking is lavender. But I’m okay with that.

Well, what do you know. I found a photo of the deeper burgundy azalea from yesterday! See below.

One nice thing about the azaleas is they grow easily here. My soil is pretty terrible for trying to grow a vegetable garden. But the azaleas? Other than those I watered at planting, fuss-free. I don’t do anything and they reward us every year.

I hope you are enjoying your own azaleas, or perhaps planning to take a spring Sunday drive around the South to view others flowering azaleas. There are some real showstoppers out there.

 

Yours in Gardening,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden

@thegardenmaiden

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Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

March Madness in The Garden of Goods and Evils

Just sharing a few images of what is flowering in the Garden of Goods and Evils this morning. I’ve got some other images of garden “winter survival” and miscellaneous work going on to share later.

It is a beautiful day along the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Crisp, high in the lows 60’s. We started out in the upper 30’s and it was 40 by the time I got outside with the camera and phone.  It is still only 50, but that won’t keep me from hanging laundry on the line!

Here are a few images from my old phone to share. I love this time of year in the garden.

Good, old-fashioned, spirea. A standard for vintage gardens. I believe this old shrub is S. x vanhouttei, but it could be S. thunbergii.  Now, I could go back outside and get a better glimpse and key the plant out better, but at the moment, I’ve spent way too much time working on this post instead of projects that will actually show me a little money.

My husband has commented that these two azaleas which have nearly doubled in size since we moved here 6.5 years ago might need a good whacking back. But, I’m not much into whacking.  In general, especially for azaleas, I think the bigger the better. And they do provide a nice screening.

This lovely two-tone pinkish azalea was planted, like most of the azaleas in my yard, by a previous owner. I am lucky to have two of them. They really brighten up the darker areas under the canopy of a large oak. If I thought about it much, I’d probably fret that I have way too many lovely plants without any sort of scientific  name/label in the yard. (Bucket List) So, for now, I’m good with “look at all the pretty azaleas”.

What I love about this azalea is that for such a small size (I planted it a couple of years ago), it has great floral impact.

Perhaps the pride and joy of my early flowering azaleas is this fine, bright, yellow-orange, native azalea that I planted several years ago.  Rhododenron austrinum (Florida flame azalea). Bet you can guess how it got it’s name.

And, yes, I have things other than azaleas flowering right now. Like these lovely, perky, little gerbera daisies.  Fortunately, they are perennial here. If you read the Southern Living article from the link in the previous sentence, you may wonder “how did she do it, how did she get them to live?” Well, maybe it is because the soil is very poor (it was some nutrient-poor potting soil I dragged home to build raised beds with years ago), very dry and I never tried to get them to live after planting them three years ago. But they lived! This is their fourth year blooming, and in partial sun. Of course, that partial sun is more than partial in winter when the crapemyrtles have no leaves, imparting additional sunshine to the bed where they are growing.

Ahh, wisteria. I trellised my vine several years ago, but last year we came home to find the entire thing bent over on the ground after a big storm.  A neighbor has two that are grown as standards: one lavender and one white. The white flowering wisteria has the most amazing smell, making my current daily walks with the dachshunds much more enjoyable, especially when I am carrying a bag of dog poo (the dachshunds are elderly, so the walks are slow, and I don’t walk faster than the poo smell). So, here I am with only a half dozen flowering clusters, but they are still pretty.

The Osmanthus (fragrant tea olive) had more flowers before the most recent cold snap, but they are still there, filling my yard with an amazing perfume.

Speaking of perfume…the banana shrubs are really going strong with spring flowers. It is no wonder after working outside all day with two banana shrubs flowering, I end the day with visions of banana flavored cocktails. (yes, I have an issue on this particular plant…some kind of disease on the leaves, which may be why the previous owner cut it down…but no time for evaluation right now…I’m just glad it came back from being cut down to the GROUND).

Well, that’s it for now. Are you enjoying your spring garden? Are you ready for March Madness? Go GREEN! Go Razorbacks!!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have two or three more blogs to post, but I really need to get an article submitted, bake some bread, hang more laundry, vacuum the carpets, care for a sick dachshund, you know…life.

Yours in Gardening,

 

The Garden Maiden

 

copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden

 

 

 

Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blooming in My Yard: March 29-April 4, 2014

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Friday, March 28, we received our first big spring rain and with some sunshine and warm temperatures, seedlings, new leaves and color are exploding all around.

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

The main eye-catcher in my garden this past week are definitely the Rhododendrons! I have so many different colors. Having many existing Rhodies was one reason for choosing my home. This classic standard for any southern garden provides a spring festival of color for several weeks.

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

By the end of the week they were really peaking. As I mentioned in an earlier post, all azaleas are in the genus Rhododedron. Classification can be confusing, but according to one of the leading professional horticulturists, Dr. Michael Dirr, in general, true rhododendrons are usually evergreen and azaleas are mostly deciduous.  Rhododendrons usually have ten or more stamens (male parts). Azaleas usually have five stamens, flowers tend to be funnel or tubular and generally have leaves that are pubescent and never dotted with scales. In my own yard I believe I mostly do have evergreen “rhodies”, nearly all of the large flowers have ten stamens. I’ve got deciduous rhododendrons too. Look at the yellow azalea pictured down below on the page. It is a native azalea and you may be able to see it has the classic funnel-form flower and five stamens. That’s an easy one!

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

If you are interested in all things Rhododendron, you might check out the American Rhododendron Society. There are also State chapters.

 

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

I am also excited that my native azalea is still alive and bloomed very well this spring after one year in the ground. Rhodendron austrinum (flame azalea) is a hardy, native, deciduous shrub with outstanding spring color. I highly recommend seeking out both R. austrinum or R. canescens native azaleas for your southern garden, where hardy.

Native azalea blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Native azalea blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Azaleas weren’t the only things blooming though! My red-tipped Photinia started flowering. There are several species of Photinia. Mine are planted as hedges, which does pose some problems, but for now, still serve their purpose. Clemson University has a good Cooperative Extension handout with information on Phontinia.

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

 

The tiny “daisy-looking” flower below is a native wildflower of the genus Erigeron. Color in the ray flowers varies from white to white with lavender. Once flowering begins to decline I will mow these back to the lawn height. There are at least seven species that bloom in this region in spring.

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

A standard, “old timey” spring, flowering shrub is old-fashioned spirea, usually called bridal wreath spirea, Spirea vanhouttei. Its a graceful, deciduous, arching shrub with clusters of brilliant, white, tiny flowers.

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

I’m cheating with this next small, flowering deciduous tree as its not fully flowered out, but so close that I could not resist. In the late afternoon sun the flowers of Chionanthus virginicus seem to glow and the chartreuse, spring leaves set the perfect background for the thin, spidery-like flowers. Commonly known as fringe tree or Grancy graybeard, you may see this fine native flowering along roadsides or hiking trails of native plant habitat.  I love to observe this tree from my second-story window in the late afternoon when it really seems to glow.

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

Blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaide_copyright_2014_RStafne-011_WEB

If my springs posts don’t inspire you to get out and observe what’s blooming in your own yard,  I hope that you can visit nearby parks or gardens to enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer us in spring 2014.

Keep on Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

 

 

 

Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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