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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Azaleas Brighten the Midst of Winter

What a difference a week can make in the life of a blooming plant.

One of the things my friend Kylee, from Our Little Acre, mentioned before she ever arrived in Florida for her February vacation was her hope that the azaleas would be blooming when she got here.

I had my doubts they would be in their full glory so early in the month of February but I suspected we might at least have a few buds and blooms for her to see.

When Kylee visited there were only a smattering of blooms on the fuchsia pink bushes. The very deep pink hue is really brilliant. Each day more buds have unfolded on the over 8 foot tall bushes. A little history would reveal they are over 25 years old. I don't trim them each year anymore like I used to. I prefer them this tall as they are the farthest background layer and can be seen better from the front walkway this tall. I don't fertilize them either as is advised. They are basically left on their own to do whatever it is they are going to do.

So these blooms are for you, Kylee. The fuchsia color you liked so much is now almost fully flowering.

Each day more and more flowers burst open. Gradually, and yet seemingly all of a sudden the bushes are giving us so much wonderful color in the midst of winter.

I've never been overly impressed with azaleas in general... they are the kind of plants I can take or leave. I really like them when they are blooming... I mean, what's not to like with such beautiful colors in February? But the rest of the year they are more or less " just there".

The pale pink variety is quite possibly my favorite. I do adore the detail of the fuchsia on that one side of its open face. I'm also fond of them because they are paired with the the deeper color trees on the other side of the pathway that leads from the front to the back.

White azaleas seem to bloom later than all the other colors every year. Even on these bushes there are more buds than blooms.

The fact that they bloom later makes blooming overall last a little longer. When the pink ones are fading the whites are then going strong.

Up close the petals are almost translucent.

My least favorite color are the orangish, peachy blooms on the dwarf azaleas. They happen to be the plants that bloom the earliest starting in December and repeat their blooms for a few months.

When Kylee was here she took some good photos of them and made nice remarks about them which in turn made me question my mediocre opinion.
Somehow they look a little better to me now. LOL


  1. Nice photos of your azaleas! Do the butterflies visit your azaleas like they do here in NC? My neighbor has those large pink ones and at times you can see 10-15 swallowtails on them. My smaller red ones get a few swallowtails but nothing like hers, she is on the hill top when the butterflies seem to like when in search of mates.

  2. Meems I just love azaleas, probably because I can't grow them down here. I have seen them in the higher regions in Martinique where it is a little cooler. Your header is just stunning and the fuschia has been my favorite lipstick colour for many many years. Wish I could grow them....... :-(

  3. I've been on the look out for azaleas which usually come out at V-Day. With the recent freezes, and the ones we are expecting this weekend, I guess they are bit delayed this year.

  4. These are lovely Meems, I think so many of us admire them partly because we can't grow them! I can't grow them at home but the gardens I look out over at work have some beautiful ones but I will have to wait a month or two yet to see them in bloom. At the moment I am enjoying snowdrops and crocus in the lawn, the camilias are late this year but they will soon be out.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  5. Gorgeous!!! The pale pink azaleas are my favorite, too. Louis keeps a constant batch of cuttings ready for planting.

    Emily and I spent the afternoon at Sanibel instead of Boca Grande on Wednesday. We just didn't want to have so far to travel home after sunset. It was a wise decision.

    The Swamp Cabbage Festival is in my neck of the woods this weekend.

  6. They are beautiful. We may have a short hard freeze here tonight, what about you?

  7. Meems,
    Your garden looks absolutely lovely with all those bright blooms! I hope you have recovered from the freeze. :-)--Randy

  8. Randy,
    Thank you and thank you for following Hoe and Shovel. Butterflies only seem to stop by the azaleas on occasion. I can't say they are a magnet for them like so many other brilliantly colored flowers. The buzzing of bees, on the other hand, can be heard when anywhere near them.

    Azaleas do seem to do better where it is a little cooler. I am wondering if they didn't pop out a little sooner this year because of all the cool weather we've had. Even in Florida you wouldn't see them too much a little south of me.

    The nurseries are more than likely being a little cautious with all the freezes we've had. Our nurseries are loaded with them right now. I'm not tempted to purchase any more of them.

    And I cannot grow snowdrops or crocus. It's always a trade off isn't it? Enjoying what we have is key I think. Although all the photos of snowdrops last year on blogs made me a little envious.

    Sanibel is one of my favorite places. Well, actually Captiva but they are right next to each other. This time of year all the beaches are a wee bit crowded but nonetheless lovely. Hope you two loved every minute.

  9. Darla,
    There are freeze warnings as far south as the county just above me.
    It is only predicted to get to around 39 degrees tonight. I'm not covering any plants but I am taking advantage of the cooler weather today and tomorrow by working in the garden as many hours as possible.

    Maybe this is the last of the freezes for you... but quite possibly not. :-(

    Thank you. The azaleas have certainly perked up the garden even though we lost so much of the lush foliage of other plants during the freezes. I've been a busy bee cutting back all the drooping brown.

  10. Such delicate flowers and vivid colors. I miss them from my years living in Alabama. Up here we saw lots of them around Valentines day. Tiny little florists pots blooming their hearts out.

  11. Hi meems,

    Good morning! I'm here for coffee and a walk around your garden. I can smell the warmth, feel the breeze and hear the birds singing their hearts out! They are glad it's azalea time, too. The azaleas! They are lovely, really lovely....and they must be very happy since they continue to thrive as background players with the amount of attention they receive.

    A long time ago I had moderate success with a sweet pink azalea...Coral Bells...but construction took them out! If I had to choose which of yours are my favorites.....hmm...I would choose fuschia, although, the white would make a garden glow at dusk. Pinks always get my attention, but I am coming to appreciate white flowers in the garden. Have lovely weekend, my friend.


  12. They are just beautiful Meems! I know what you mean about them - they are kind of boring except when they're blooming. I think they're worth they're relatively short season though, since they're so stunning and brighten up the garden so beautifully when they're blooming.

    How lucky you are to have such statesque specimens!

  13. The azaelas are so colourful and brighten the garden. I love how they look as a background around your tree trunks. It sounds like they are low maintenance for you too, what a bonus. You have something interesting in bloom every time I visit.

  14. I have one small Azalea which only seems to bloom aroung the bottom of the bush, but I do love to see the few blooms I'm blessed with.
    My mother grew them beautifully in Australia.
    Yours are wonderful, Meems! I'm very partial to the pinks, but I love them all :)

  15. Beautiful photos! Florida is looking very nice this time of year;) It is obvious you spend a lot of time making your yard look so fantastic. Anxious to read more!

  16. The apricot colour would be my favourite. :) I love orange in the garden. All the other blooms are beatiful, too, and I like your bright, new header, too -- perfect for spring!

  17. Just beautiful, Meems! I especially like the last one. I had 1 Azalea in my garden, but I think I planted it too deep and it bit the dust! I really like it too- live and learn, I guess.

  18. Oh, Meems, you made my heart sing with this post!

    I love the fuschia color best! I also like that you don't prune them. They are beautiful.

  19. Marnie,
    They sell them like that here, too. I like the ones they've formed into trees.

    Dear Gail,
    I hope you enjoyed your coffee and walk around... it was a splendidly beautiful day with lots of sunshine and only reached 60 degrees. I got some work done in one of my new beds.

    I am partial to white as well. Just about anything white flowering plant makes me happy.
    Hope all is going well with the workmen! Such fun you must be having.

    you are right. They are probably worth the few weeks of glory they produce. Some years when it's been an extra hot autumn they haven't done much in the way of blooming. This year they are helping me over the hump of a very badly damaged garden from unseasonable freezes.

    Northern Shade,
    Thanks. I do like the way they blend right in with the oak trees, too.

    I find it interesting that Azaleas grow in Australia. The more I photograph mine the more I like each color. Glad you are getting a few blooms to enjoy on yours, too.

    Thank you for stopping by. Florida usually looks better than it does right now this time of year. We managed to get through two frost and freeze damaging spells that badly damaged lots of my tropicals. They will come back... it will just take some time and patience.

    Glad you like the header. Those peach blossoms are photographing well... which makes them look better to me than they do on the bush. Not sure that happens too often.

    You are right... So much living and learning involved with gardening!

    Wow, Robin,
    That was a really nice thing to say. The thought of making anyone's heart sing is just a blessing. So glad you came by.

    Thank you.

  20. Very pretty Meems. I have a row of them on the East side of my house that acts as a privacy fence. Mine have a lavender look to them. They are way over my head now that I can't trim them the way I use to. I found trimming them made them more dense, so to hide the then neighbors. They aren't there anymore--long story. There are a lot of oak trees in that yard & I think that helps the azaleas blooms stay longer. Not sure.

  21. Meems,

    Beautiful azaleas! I just love those!

    I saw an ad by one of the parks down in Florida and they were advertising their PEACOCKS! Maybe a tourist destination will take your peacocks for your.


  22. Hi Meems, Oh Oh Oh, they are all so beautiful. I love the new header photo too. Azaleas are a favorite here, really the deciduous ones do better with our recent droughts, but all are prized. I realize they are spring only, but they add so much at that time, I would never be without at least a few. I love yours that have gone natural, they way they should be! :-)

  23. Oh Meems, THANK YOU for this post! WOW! They really did pop out after I left, didn't they? I was loving even the few blooms they had when I was there, but this is fabulous!

    And missy, you'd better not tear out that gorgeous one near your front door. I'm laying claim to it now, and you have to take good care of it for me, since I can't grow it up here. Got that?


  24. Here's where we have such a different azaleas won't be showing any colour til mid May or later...(sigh). But I sure enjoy looking at yours, Meems!

  25. Lola,
    Did you notice how sparse the branches are on my azaleas? I'm thinking it is because I don't trim them and they don't bush out anymore like they used to.

    I have called every park I can think of to no avail.
    I've been trying not to complain about the peacocks and the way they keep eating my geranium blooms right off the tips of the plants on my front walkway... of course they have to leave their poo there, too... just to remind me they've been there when I wasn't looking. GRRRRR!!! Traps have been set for them at my neighbor's... we are all crossing our fingers they will find their way in.

    Who could forget your beautiful yellow species? A real WOWZER! and well worth the wait and short bloom season.

    I'm especially fond of the natural look of the azalea shrubs. I'm beginning to think they are blooming better these last couple of years due to a couple of trees removed by my neighbor allowing for more sunlight.

    Don't worry... the dwarf azaleas are there to stay ... at least for a while. When you took your photo of them I took a second look at their charm. I really have always been fond of their smaller leaves and smaller habits all around.

    Isn't it the truth? Almost polar opposites of the continent and so different in climate. I will have to pay attention when yours are blooming... it will be fun to see some in May... or later... :-)

  26. The fuchsia colored ones are my favorite, but I love all pinks in my garden. Yours look are really natural looking the way you let them grow.

  27. Connie,
    Thank you. I do love pinks as well. I couldn't really capture the layer of light pink that stands about 5 feet tall contrasted with the fuchsia that stands over 8 feet tall (with a pathway in between them) because the light pink is up against the house. But from the driveway it is a really nice layering affect.

  28. I love your Azalea show! I really don't associate them with Florida, but I guess I should. They definitely aren't a Chicago thing, more's the pity.

  29. Nice post. I guess azaleas are your equivalent of our bougainvilleas, for wonderful masses of colours. One day I would try to get some azalea cuttings and try them here, if I can manage some roses I might be able to manage that in a sheltered spot.
    I had to smile as I read down, as the last color is actually my favourite, then the first fushia- like one.

  30. I did notice how sparse they were. Actually the way I trim mine is in an incline line--shorter then graduate upward. More blooms, more visible that way. Straight up on the backside from me. About 3 of them have died out. Maybe getting too old. They came with the house.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

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Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway