Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Azaleas Are Blooming

You probably have seen the very old movie called The Wizard of Oz.  The first part of the movie is filmed in black and white.   Later on in the movie,  Dorothy lands in the beautiful Land of Oz.  As Dorothy slowly opens the door of her little house that has just landed in Oz ... she opens the door to the most beautiful colorful Land of Oz.   From then on, the film is in color.

Each Spring I am always reminded of that movie as we transition from an almost black and white winter look to the glorious colors of Springtime.

Looking out the kitchen window you can get an idea of how the azaleas are beginning to bloom and how all the beautiful little green leaves are returning as the trees slowly wake up from their long winter sleep...

I decided to take my camera on a walk just to see what was blooming 
in the yard along with the Azaleas.

Opening the door to the front walkway I feel like Dorothy in the colorful Land of Oz now that everything has turned green.  Walking down the front walkway you can see the beginning of the circular driveway.  Inside of the circle we planted multiple colors of Azaleas many years ago.  It is worth the wait each year to see them all in bloom.

I love the way the whole entire Azalea bush is covered in beautiful blossoms.

Inside the circular driveway.

In the below photo the darker purple Azaleas are what they call Formosa Azaleas.   The lighter pink in the forefront are the beautiful little Pink Ruffle Azaleas.  The smaller darker pink Azalea is the Red Ruffle Azalea.  And then, there is the White Azalea which is beautiful in it's own way also.

Do you ever experience the feeling, as you view an object, hear a song or even get a whiff of a fragrance,  of being suddenly swept back in time to another place and time?  That is the case for me with our sweet little pig Yard Art seen in the below photo on the left.

Growing up as a teenager we had a little 3 acre farm in South Florida.  Daddy felt it would be a good idea for all of us 6 brothers and sisters to have farm chores to do and to learn about the land.  We had a big garden we were responsible for,  plus chickens, rabbits, cows and pigs.  My job was milking the cow in the morning before high school and then again just before dinnertime.  I loved my sweet "Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair."  She gave lots and lots of milk and she was so sweet and gentle and had the most beautiful face.

Yard Art Pig Statues on the left.

My brother Tim and I were responsible for taking care of the pigs.  We loved them!  They were our pets too!  We fed them and petted them and loved them.  It was the saddest day when they were taken away for their intended destiny.  I never forgot them!   When I told my husband I really wanted some pigs for our yard he very wisely did get me some Yard Art Pigs instead of the real thing.  He said they were much easier to take care of and he was right.  I never walk past our Yard Art Pigs without being swept back in time and reminded of our two little pet pigs from long ago.

Formosa Azaleas

I love the pretty flower buds of the Azaleas.  And, as always at this time of year,  you can see the pollen all over the leaves.

From the back porch we can see lots of Springtime blossoms.  The big white tree is a Cherry Tree with Formosa Azaleas on each side.  Closer up to the patio is another Pink Ruffle Azalea.  And, one of my very favorite Springtime flowers by the light-post is the lovely little yellow Lady Bankshire Rose.  Some just call her the Lady Banks Rose.

There is something about this little yellow thorn-less rose that I just love!  She is definitely very easy to grow and when Spring comes she blooms and is completely covered in these beautiful little delicate yellow blossoms.  To me she does not look like a Rose, but is referred to as a Rose.

A Lady Bankshire Rose is extremely easy to grow and if you leave her alone with no pruning she will become a Climbing Rose and can grow as long as 30 feet, which would be so beautiful for an arbor.  I have pruned this particular Lady Banks into a bush instead of a Climbing Rose because this is not a good spot for a climber.  From what I can find out the Lady Banks will grow nicely in full sun in the Hardiness Zones from 6 through 9.

This is one of my favorite Springtime plants growing in our yard.  It is called the Bridal Wreath Spirea.  It is a traditional Southern plant with beautiful flower-filled cascading branches.  I love to take cuttings of these beautiful cascading flowers to use in an Azalea Flower Arrangement for the dining room table.

The breezes were gently moving these pretty flowers as I was trying to photograph them and therefore not very sharp photos,  but you can still get an idea of how delicately beautiful they are.   From what I can find out,  Spirea plants do well in Hardiness Zones from 4 through 9.

Nelson,  short for Willie Nelson,  our kitty,  sometimes likes  to walk around with me in the yard.  He looked like he was thinking: "Well let's go!".  Can you see all the pollen on the porch in the background ... It is everywhere this time of year.

In the below photo, walking out toward the front yard,  on my way to get some photos 
of the Native Azaleas,  I spotted this pretty little wildflower growing beside the driveway.

 Native Azaleas

When planting these Native Azaleas they need to be put in a location where they 
have lots and lots of room to grow, because in time they can grow to the size of a  small tree.

My husband planted these Native Azaleas many years ago, 
 and they remain his favorite Springtime plant.

Sometimes I think an extremely cold winter like we had this year
 somehow makes for a prettier Springtime.

Later in the day I headed into town to run some errands.  I remembered to take my camera for any of those "just in case" moments.

I have told you in the past just how pretty it is to drive down Thomasville Road here in Tallahassee.  I think it is such a scenic drive.  The below photo was taken just as I was driving past our local Tallahassee Nurseries, which I just love because of all the beautiful old Oak Trees. 

On this particular day they especially caught my eye because they are filled with beautiful new brightly colored green leaves that sparkled in the sunshine.  This time of year the old leaves fall off the Oak Trees and they get a whole new tree full of leaves.  To me they are so-o-o pretty!

Along the drive on Thomasville Road this pretty entrance caught my eye and I had to stop and snap a photo of these extremely colorful Petunias and other colorful flowers.  Don't you LOVE Petunias!!

Driving past a bank building on the same Thomasville Road they have landscaped with beautiful different colored Azaleas.  Isn't it amazing how the whole entire bush is totally covered in blossoms.
The Good Lord made this one for me ... I LOVE this color.

This is a combination of white Azaleas with the beautiful George Tabor Azalea.

If you get close enough to this beautiful George Tabor Azalea 
you can get of whiff of their lovely fragrance.

Azaleas are easy to grow and do well in Hardiness Zones 4 through 9.   They need a well-drained acidic soil and when watered they like water on their leaves.  They also like sun, but are also shade tolerant and like living under trees.  Azaleas were first introduced into our country in the 1830s at the now well-known rice plantation called Magnolia-on-the-Ashley in Charleston, South Carolina.  

There were so many more Azalea photos waiting to be taken.  A lot of them were not in locations where it was easy to park and get close enough to photograph them.  But, I think the Azaleas shown here will give you an idea of Azaleas in the Springtime here in Tallahassee.  They only bloom about 3 weeks, but to me it is worth waiting for all year long.

I hope it is a special and beautiful Springtime in your part of the world also.  

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Have a beautiful, blessed weekend wherever you may be.

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