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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.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Azaleas in Full Splendor

Maybe it was our colder winter. Maybe it is the consistent rainfall we've received during our usually dry season. Or maybe it's a combination of both. But the azaleas have bloomed better than EVER this year.

Each individual flower spans 2-3 inches in diameter. The leaves are everygreen when not in bloom.

A couple of weeks ago we looked at some close-up views of the azaleas at the beginning of their pretty show. And even though there are still some buds yet to open, I'd guess these winter blooming shrubs at Hoe and Shovel have peaked.

I'll admit ~~ it's only when they are in full bloom that I find myself wishing I had planted more of them.

The view from the front driveway (looking a little to the right of my house) reveals the naturalistic "old south" manner in which my azaleas grow. They don't get trimmed or fertilized letting them instead grow wildly and be nourished by the rich organics of the oak leaves all year long. The background shrubs are well over 10' tall. (Don't mind my naked xanadu and sparse shell gingers in the foreground~~ they are trying their best to come back after the freezes.)

"Too much color!" Those words from my 7 year-old granddaughter as she sees the brilliant hue of Azalea indica 'Formosa' flowers in their deepest pink array. Granted, at this age she can be a little silly and sometimes dramatic as she covers her eyes while making her proclamation. Oh well, she keeps me smiling anyway.

The deep magenta Formosa variety has withstood the test of time. Although no question there have been years with very sparse bloom rates. They were here when we moved in over 25 years ago. One of the few original plants I've kept ~~ other than the native palmettos and of course oak trees.

There is a pathway winding from the front walkway leading to the back garden that separates the light pink and the magenta shrubs. Rhododendron x ‘George Tabor’ was planted after we had lived here a while. My memory escapes exactly when but that means it was back when life was too busy to write these kinds of things down. Suffice to say at least 15 years ago.

The light pink blooms with their freckley magenta throats are probably my favorite variety. Although I am really partial to the pure white variety Azalea indica 'G.G. Gerbing' that borders the other side of the driveway, too.

We woke up this morning to showers still dripping from the sky. In the overnight we had 1.5" of good rain. It's beneficial for me that it rains occasionally forcing me to adjust my outdoor plans. It keeps me indoors to get a few things checked off the endless paperwork list.

Not as bad as it could have been.

My organizational mojo kicked into high gear with the windows open and a cool breeze coming through. Although I did find myself feeling a bit like a daydreaming school girl at times staring at the profuse blooms of the azaleas situated right outside my window.

When backlit by the crisp Florida sunshine, once the rain cleared away, the deep magenta illuminates to an even more intense and indescribable hue.


  1. You have a beautiful azalea show in your garden! I agree with you. I don't ever remember the azalea show being quite so vivid in Central Florida! It is wonderful this year! Yes, there is an overwhelming display of fuschia. It seems in my area, those are planted more than the pastels and whites. But, hey, I love bright pink, so it works for me.

  2. Beautiful azaleas, Meems. Thank goodness for them, too. They are the only landscape flower we have blooming right now that survived our harsh winter. Louis keeps propagating them so that they are growing under nearly every one of our tallest trees. Like you, the pale pink flowers are my favorite. Sadly, they are well past their peak here.

  3. Preview of things to come! Only The whites have started to open here, and a few blooms near the ground on Pink Pearl. George Tabor is my second fave, Pink Pearl being the favest.

  4. Very beautiful azaleas! I also love the light pink one better, even better with the deep pink ones as the background. Did you say it is over 10' tall? Did not know azaleas could grow that tall. Your oak leaves must providing lots of good nutritient for them to grow!

  5. Meems,
    Your azaleas are stunning! I'm sure they love the care you give them too. Ours are slow to move this year, 4 new ones and all look stalled.

  6. Ahhhhzalea bliss! So different from here where ours won't be blooming before May. We grow mostly deciduous azaleas here, but evergreen rhododendrons. They all remind me of my friend Captain Steele, who worked for so many years developing coldhardy ones. I miss him. These are wonderful, Meems, I'm so glad the cold didn't damage them!

  7. Oh Meems I love those bright pink azaleas. I have George Tabor, and mine have done well this year also and we live further south. I am going to see about rooting some cuttings so that I will have more. Thanks for the terrific showing.


  8. To a 7 year old the flaming bushes towering over her probably were overwhelming. WOW is all I can say. I rarely get to see azaleas that tall around here. They make quite a show this time of year.

  9. Ours are starting to bloom as well...too much color, silly little girl,lol.

  10. OOOh Meems! A picture your azaleas is worth many thousand words. I am in awe of such beautiful blooms. What the chill didn't kill or damage, it surely has given these azaleas what they needed to bloom like this. I just love the magenta, it matches my favourite lipstick colour. Hugs to you my friend.

  11. Gorgeous color! Never too much! :-)

    I've been amazed at how I've not lost plants from our cold, especially wet, winter since I grow so many xeric and drought-tolerant plants. They actually look more robust! Maybe cold weather makes them tougher!

  12. They have been fabulous, haven't they.

  13. Stunning, and such bright colour! They, and rhododendrons, have the most wonderful blooms.

  14. I'm so glad you're growing your azaleas untrimmed (as nature intended). They look so much better than the ones people hack back into 3-4 foot hedges!

  15. I love the natural shape of the azaleas and pinks in the garden is my favorite color. They are just stunning!

  16. Gorgeous! I think azaleas are so beautiful in bloom. I need to look at these pictures in June so I can remember why I'm keeping them the rest of the year.

  17. Those azaleas are truly stunning, Meems! I just bought my first one. They arent available in any of the nurseries here and I had to wait for a plant exhibition with someone from another state to get one.
    Do you have any tips for growing them? Almost all the information I've found on the Net seems to cater to those living in much

  18. Oh Meems you have a beautiful show of azaleas going on. You have some really large ones too. Such a pretty sight with all of the fuchsias and pinks.

  19. Those asazleas are gorgeous! I can't believe a little girl thinks there is to much pink in the world. Kind of good really. sometimes there is.

  20. Gorgeous! We lost all of our azaleas to a hurricane almost six years ago. It seems they are not salt-tolerant. I finally got the courage to buy some this year, as I missed all that pink this time of year.

  21. Wow! You really got some show stoppers going on there. Nice...

  22. Thanks everyone for your kind comments on the bright display of azaleas in my yard.

    Amazingly azaleas don't need much attention when sited correctly and once they get established. The varieties grown in Florida really appreciate acidic soil. I'm pretty convinced they also appreciated the additional cold days we had this year and last.

    If anyone lives in Central Florida driving around town is much like Christmastime when we notice all the Christmas lights. Only now it is azaleas. They are everywhere and they are peaking this week.

    As far as the height of mine, it is because they are so OLD. When left to naturalize after so many years they can get this tall.

    There are so many more displays around town that are prettier than mine as I have not planted any more new shrubs in years. But some yards are full of azaleas when often there might not be any other garden beauty to speak of.

    Too bad their blooms don't last longer... I would fill up lots more space with them if they did.

    Having grown up with them EVERYWHERE... often I think I am just too used to them and don't give them enough credence when considering design.

  23. Just splendid-I must get some azalea cuttings sometime on a trip to the US... These remind me of my current blazing fuchsia bougainvillea show

  24. It seems as though the camellias and the azaleas were more beautiful than normal. Perhaps it was a combination of the things you mentioned plus the consistently cooler temps. All I know is that I can't get enough of them.

  25. wowzers...they are beautiful. that cold winter did them a world of good. it makes up for all the other stinky stuff that got messed up because of the very cold temps.
    azaleas always remind me of the south. they are so old fashioned in the right kinda way.
    happy springtime blooms, meems.

  26. Meems, A stunning display...and my favorite azalea color...I love the naturalistic display...I think they look best allowed to be. (I lost all my mine years ago when they patio was poured; too much lime) The winter losses have yet to be tallied...but, most of my small trees did not set bloom. I think that was the extreme rain we had in September and October. gail I hope you have a good Easter with your family.

  27. Wowzers! Whatever the reason, they are beautiful. Thanks for showing us how splendid they are this year. Happy almost Easter too.~~Dee

  28. How beautiful your azaleas are displayed. We are too cold and akaline to grow them. But, it is a joy to see them in your garden.

  29. The azaleas make a breathtaking display, Meems. Absolutely beautiful! I'm smiling at your little granddaughter's remark :)
    Never too much color!
    Your garden is a sight to behold!


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