Thursday, May 19, 2011

In Appreciation of Azaleas

I must admit, I’ve never really been a great admirer of azaleas. It wasn’t until I went to Winterthur in Delaware one Mother’s Day that I realized how beautiful they could be. Winterthur is an amazing place and if you’ve never been there, you MUST go. It was the house of Henry Francis du Pont. Not only are there 175 rooms filled with antique American furniture, there’s a wonderful 60-acre naturally landscaped garden. I will have to do a post on Winterthur sometime with pictures. But I digress... Winterthur has a truly magnificent azalea garden. Around Mother’s Day it’s a mass of glorious colors. After seeing that I thought, “Hmm, maybe there is something to this azalea thing after all.” Mind you, I’m not ready to run out and join the Azalea Society of America (yes, there is one), but I’ve decided azaleas do have a place in the landscape.

When Brian and I first bought this house in 2005, I spent the first year just observing the grounds – not planting much, but just seeing what was already there and what it did when. There were azaleas in the front yard and I wasn’t sure I’d keep them until I saw them bloom that first spring in 2006. They light up the front yard in white and magenta. I decided I kinda liked them there.

Azaleas in the front yard.

The front yard is an area I haven’t done much with and that’s in large part due to those azaleas. It’s also due to the fact that there’s some serious tree roots and it makes for difficult digging. The only thing I’ve planted is a hydrangea and another azalea to replace a large, dead azalea. I know I’ll eventually do more, but I’ve got my hands full with the back yard and for now I’m content with the azaleas in the front.

Close-up of the azaleas in the front yard.

There are also two azaleas in the back yard by our shed / workshop. They bring color to an otherwise fairly dark area. 

Pink azalea by the shed as it’s starting to bloom.
(That’s a neighbor’s blue house in background. No, not Mr. Friendly Loud-Talking Neighbor.)

Yes, it’s true, the azaleas are done and not blooming right now. But I couldn’t resist showing some pictures.

Magenta and pink azaleas in front of the shed / workshop. Also some clematis in this shot.
(No, we don’t keep Christmas lights up all year round. Well actually we kinda do.
We like the white lights all year round on the shed and in the greenhouse.
They happen to be falling down a bit in spots, though. Guess we better get on that!)

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