Sunday, March 22, 2015

Springtime in the Southern Garden

Yes, we delight in seeing daffodils and crocuses raising their blossomy heads in the snow or slop of early spring  -- depending on where we live. I live in Georgia and this year we had snow!
I love to see the Cosmos blooms and always recall their Greek meaning: "a balanced universe."


But what really balances our universe in the South is the Azalea. Drive down any Southern street from Georgia to Louisiana and check the yards. No matter how grand or humble it will have at least one of these hardy flowering shrubs. But just because they’re common doesn’t make them any less fascinating and beautiful. Azaleas come in riot of colors and sizes to suit any space and purpose. For the last ten years botanists have hybridized the old faithful's into varieties that bloom multiple times a year.


Rhododendrons, close cousins to Azaleas, however, are not so accommodating, even though I love them and try to make them happy. They are rather finicky about their environment: the soil -- too wet, too dry -- the sun, too strong, too clouded. Did I say I love them? I delight when we drive north and see them in the wild, in the highlands of North and South Carolina. This ancient Greek rhodon or English rose can be evergreen or deciduous and comes to us from Asia.


The Snowy Viburnum shrubs in my yard are budding. In a few weeks their honeysuckle smell will invade our senses. No surprise it is in the honeysuckle family, (Caprifoliaceae) This broad family raises many species and varieties of trees and shrubs.
Many viburnums put on a showy display, producing flowers in an arrangement called a corymb. Some species are edible, while others are somewhat poisonous.

Rosy-pink flowers add a touch of romance when displayed against the dark glossy foliage. The foliage is much darker than that of older varieties like 'Java Red'. It contrasts beautifully with the rosy-pink flowers, making for a high impact display in the garden. This variety produces copious amounts of flowers in spring, and will bloom throughout the summer. The trumpet-like flowers are adored by hummingbirds! It is fast growing and trouble free, making it an easy way to add season long color to the garden.

Happy Spring

Happy Gardening
Gerrie Ferris Finger
Running with Wild Blood
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