Posts Tagged With: rhododendron

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: , , , , , , , , ,

Blooming in My Yard: April 5-11, 2014- I wanna ROCK! Do you “kick it” in your garden?

Tung tree blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

Tung tree blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to another addition of “Blooming in My Yard”: a few rock stars for early April. This week I begin with a flower that many will see blooming along highways of southern Mississippi. Tung tree (pictured above). Beautiful spring flowers. Not a native. The history of this tree in Mississippi and the Gulf Coast is fascinating! Read more on this Biloxi Historical Society website. Purdue Horticulture has some good information on this tree. The tree seeds sprout readily just about anywhere down here, making this escaped exotic somewhat of a pest, if not invasive. But darn the flowers are nice! Grown for their oil, tung tree plantations and processing plants were found everywhere along the Gulf Coast until Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Gaura blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

Gaura blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

I planted two Gaura last year. One of them struggled and appeared to have died out over the winter, but it came back from the roots and is already about seven inches tall. The other is now blooming and what sweet sprays of flowers it boasts! The Missouri Botanical Garden has a nice information page on Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’, a very popular variety of this fine perennial.

Sweetshrub blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

Sweetshrub blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was really excited to find this fine, native shrub (Calycanthus floridus) blooming near the shed in my backyard. Its actually not planted in the best location, squeezed up next to the shed between a camellia and bridal wreath spirea (see last week’s post). In fact, I didn’t find it until year two living in my new home. My sweetshrub has several nice suckers and I plan to relocate all of them to shady areas under the mature tree canopy in my yard where they will get bigger and bloom more profusely. The fragrance is very pleasant, but not overwhelming, though the plants I have are so crowded there are few blooms per plant. Until I found the first bloom last year, I had no idea what the plant was or that it was hiding back there. Since it has just opened its first two flowers, I hope to get some better images in the next week.

Rose blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

Rose blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

This rose bush was propagated locally by a gardener and I inherited one of the plants. It is trouble-free, blooms nearly all year (seriously there was only about 2 months this past winter with no blooms). I’m going to have to have a heavier hand in pruning it soon because it is planted inside my herb garden and starting to elbow its way around. But its a beautiful, sweet, red-pink color and a nice addition. Propagating and gifting plants from your yard is an inexpensive and rewarding way to create your own gifts for friends and family.

Rhododendron blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

Rhododendron blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye to Romance (Ozzy Osbourne) is exactly how I felt over the weekend. My rhododendrons have peaked and made it Over the Mountain (Ozzy Osbourne). It was a great couple of weeks and while there are still many blooms to be found rockin’ it in my yard, their peak season is over;  the week or two when they nearly poke your eyes out with brilliance and color so outstanding you want to drop to your knees and throw your hands in the air.

Carolina desert chicory blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

Carolina desert chicory blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This member of the Asteraceae family looks very similar to a common lawn dandelion, except the flowers are borne on stalks about 12-15″ (in my yard).  Pyrrhopappus carolinianaus (Carolina desert chicory) is a native flower. I think the images on Southeastern Flora are better for this species versus the images linked to the Wildflower.org site above, but they have better taxonomic and cultural information. It is growing under the semi-shade canopy of mature (not crape murdered) crape myrtles along the sidewalk. This is one of several native wildflowers I allow to bloom before mowing.

Fringe tree blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

Fringe tree blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week I included a photo of fringe tree (image above), but it was just beginning to flower. The image above shows this excellent, small, native, flowering tree in its prime in my yard with more of a closeup of the flowers.  Read more about Chionanthus virginicus from Wildflower.org.

So that wraps it up for last week’s blooms. I was working Friday and unable to make a post over the weekend.  As far as kicking it in the garden goes, I can frequently be found rockin’ out while working in my yard/garden.  Whether it be a selection of Hawaiian CD’s (IZ, Don Ho, Jack Jackson, Martin Denny, Henry Kapono) in the stereo, a jazz playlist I created in my MP3 player or tuning in to Radio Margaritaville, Lithium, or Ozzy’s Bone Yard on satellite radio, music moves me while I groove in the garden.  Gardening can be a quiet, serene time for reflection and inner peace or it can be a rockin’, kick ass party to help you de-stress and have fun. Do you “kick it” in the garden?

Keep on Growin’, Finz Up, Hang Loose and (insert devil horns…K.I.S.S. Rocks!)
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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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