Fire All Of Your Buds At Once…

Every year is different. Sometimes the tulips are magnificent, never before as beautiful. Sometimes not. While there are always disastrous weather events that affect the floral display, somehow there are also shining moments of delirious delight with something else. This year it is the deciduous azaleas, Rhododendron ssp., native species and hybrids that are breaking records of ravishing. Above: Rhododendron ‘Klondyke’, firing on all buds.

The bloom always begins with Rhododendron ‘Admiral Semmes’, seen above on the left, with R. ‘Mandarin Lights’ and R. ‘Primrose’. (There is a page on the sidebar dedicated to these favorites, my signature plants. Click here to see it.)

Did I fail to mention that they are also fragrant? Sweet but not sickeningly so, the air is filled with the delicate perfume emitted from the long row planting that is referred to as the Azalea Walk.

The blooming is normally spread over several weeks, with early, mid and late bloomers as is the case with so many things. But not 2012, which will be forever known as the year of *fire all of your buds at once*, a take on the *Steppenwolf song “Born To Be Wild” which includes the memorable line *Fire all of your guns at once and explode into space*. Above: Rhododendron ‘Arneson Gem’.

That is what is happening here. It is the grand finale of a fireworks display where they shoot off everything they’ve got at once for a big bang. Above: Rhododendron ‘Mount St. Helens’ fore, Rhododendron aromi ‘Pink Carousel’ behind.

This is a big bang of blooms, and I cannot hardly stand to be inside, not wanting to miss a single flower.

We danced like shooting fireworks to this, miniskirts hiked up, wrecking our stockings as the high heels got kicked into space. Like a true nature’s child, we were born, born to be wild….


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23 Responses to Fire All Of Your Buds At Once…

  1. georgiafromga1 says:

    Wow! Who needs breakfast when this eye-candy is on offer. It really is a spectacular display, Frances. I thought I was “over” azaleas but, be still my heart, yours are making me take a fresh look. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Hi Georgia, thanks. I can’t stay away from these native deciduous azaleas, not the same as the Asian evergreen ones by a long shot. The colors are startling and seeing them all blooming at once is a once in a lifetime event, I believe. Yummy!

  2. gail says:

    Frances, They look fabulous, spectacular, wonderful… Wowzer, yowzer…I am rendered speechless, but, I can imagine the marvelous scent in your garden and I can proclaim that I need an Azalea Walk! xoxogail

    Hi Gail, thanks. You do need an Azalea Walk, just like we saw at Sissinghurst in England. They didn’t want the colors all mixed up, too gaudy for their sensibilities! I say bring in all the colors and once!

  3. Wow – these are gorgeous. I’ve never seen such an awesome display of azaleas and rhodos. There is one at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario, but it pales compared to yours. Definitely “firing on all guns”. Loved listening to this old favorite song while sipping my coffee this sunny morning.

    Hi Heather, thanks for visiting and sipping with me this morning! I am so attracted to these large beauties, even before I knew they were native to this area, some of them, anyway. It is a good way to start spring.

  4. gittan says:

    Wow! If I should use only one word it´s COLORFUL =) And I love it! We´re a bit behind here but the springflowers this year.. they are amazing! Everything is blooming at the same time and sinceit´s a kind of cold sping it lasts for a long time. Do I have to say that I like it ;p
    I wish for you a nice weekend / Kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks for joining in. I love hearing that you are having a delightful spring, late or early. Colors and lots of them, that’s what I want to see! May you have a wonderful weekend, too, my friend.

  5. Marilyn says:

    I’ll add my “WOW” to the comments!!! I wish they grew here!!♥♫

    Hi Marilyn, thanks for the wow! I wish everyone could grow them.

  6. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Holy moly, Frances! Those are absolutely spectacular!!!!!!!!

    Hi Cindy, thanks. They are really having the best year ever. It is normally more spread out, the blooming season, not all at once. Now I will be spoiled.

  7. Layanee says:

    There is something to be said for all those blooms at once. It sure makes for a spectacular display.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. Spectacular is the word. When the sun comes up just enough to light up the darkness here, what we see is this fireworks display out the back sliders. They are like neon in the earliest morning.

  8. spurge says:

    Your azaleas are just spectacular! I love how the light filters through your garden. Thanks for sharing your incredible garden with us!

    Hi Spurge, thanks so much. I love the light here, too. I have definitely learned when the best time is to take photos of the garden, early morning. That works well for me since I am always up well before dawn.

  9. Wow the colors are brilliant. I love seeing the different plants that can be grown in other areas, I have tried to grow azaleas in my zone, but just to cold. I will simply enjoy yours. Thanks.

    Hi Sandy, thanks. We are diverse in the plantings here, that is for sure.

  10. What a true feast for my plant deprived eyes. I have been in the hospital all week for a gallbladder removal which took place yesterday, Unfortunately, it wasn’t done laproscopically so my gardening activities are going to be much limited. I will be living vicariously through your wondrous pictures and beautiful prose.

    Hi Michaele, thanks. I am so sorry about your surgery, I hope you are on the mend quickly and will be able to do some light gardening very soon.

  11. Yes, you need to enjoy it and remember it. I am looking forward to my deciduous azaleas blooming, too.

    Thanks Kathy, and Happy Birthday!!!

  12. Sharon Carlson says:

    Gardening in Tennessee rocks!!!

    Hi Sharon, I couldn’t agree more!!!

  13. Tracy Bantel says:

    At first looking at the “firing on all buds” (which i love the name) i thought it was a type of Amaryillus, but noticed it was a very up close pic the branch looked thicker than an average branch~ What amazing color i have NEVER seen this tranluscent yellow before soooooo very beautiful, i wouldnt want to be inside either rain or shine i am always outside :). I LOVED the tunes at the bottom, the drummer’s hair was really silly tho i know was in the 70’s, me born in 68 i was prob climbing trees n mom was rocking out, that is one my fav songs to work out to. Thxs for all your wonderful pictures i enjoy your blog and drool over the amount of space you have to work w/ if only i had a bit more space……………………………enjoy yourself~
    Tracy Costa Mesa CA

    Hi Tracy, thanks for visiting, I appreciate those kind words. Yes, this song from 1969 still gets toes tapping and abs crunching, even today! These are large, very large shrubs, those macro shots can be deceiving. Having lived in SoCal in the mid-eighties, I know about the much smaller lots there, especially compared to Tennessee. If only this property was a little more level…

  14. gardtho5 says:

    Oh…your photos are stunning! I’ve always been partial to native azaleas, and yours are simply breathtaking! I, too, would want to be outside every minute with those lovelies to enjoy. I had a few native azaleas, which our then-puppy ate–but I think I need to try them again in one of our dog-free zones! Thank you for sharing such gorgeous photos.

    Hi Gardtho, thanks! I have very good news for you, I planted two of the yellow deciduous azaleas here in the back yard when my daughters lived here while attending college. They had a puppy that did the exact same thing, chewed both of the right to the ground. One time, a few years later, I was weeding back there and noticed yellow flowers. Yep, both had regrown and were blooming.

  15. Lona says:

    Frances I am drooling all over your Azaleas. How spectacular they are with their brilliant colors. Just wonderful!

    Hi Lona, thanks. Seeing those bright colors at this time of year is wonderful.

  16. Lola says:

    Ok, I am spell bound now. I love those azaleas, so beautiful. That orange one has me mesmarised. My vine [?] out back that has white blooms is smelling sooooo good. The whole area smells.

    Hi Lola, thanks. I love a fragrant blooming vine, especially one with white flowers.

  17. Frances I was a flower child who was born to be wild and loved dancing to this song….your azaleas are stunning….I don’t have much luck here with azaleas in my native hard neutral clay even with amendments…enjoy those fab blooms!

    Hi Donna, thanks for taking a ride back in the time machine with me! What a fun time we had back then. Flower Child, I haven’t heard that term in some time, love it and the memories it conjures. Sorry about your lack of azalea luck, they are my favorites.

  18. patientgardener says:

    I love rhododendrons and azaelas but my garden isnt really big enough to take them which is such a pity. Thanks for sharing yours

    Hi Helen, thanks for visiting. You garden is beautiful, even without the rhodo family.

  19. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This is a spring to remember. Everything is blooming all at once. Just the craziest, most beautiful spring ever.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. It is one for the books. I will look back to this blog post in future years and dream of the time all of the azaleas went off, er bloomed at once.

  20. Jeannine says:

    Such vivid colors, the photos are great. The rhododendrons are beauties!

    Hi Jeanine, thanks so much. These large shrubs are amazing. My photos do not do them justice at all.

  21. Rose says:

    Oh my goodness, I can see why you wouldn’t want to spend a minute more than necessary indoors! What a fantastic display! Two years ago, I was in Portland, Oregon in May just as the azaleas were in bloom. It was a magnificent sight, but I think your “Azalea Walk” rivals the Oregon beauties.

    Hi Rose, thanks for joining in here. I wish they would be in bloom when you come to visit, but I doubt they will still be in bloom. I remember your Portland visit, and enjoyed traveling along with your posts about it.

  22. Crystal says:

    What beautiful Azaleas and Rhododendrons. Unable to grow them here in our heavy clay soil. Tried growing them in pots once, but it’s not the same.

    Hi Crystal, thanks. We are fortunate for our zone, weather and soil in many ways, it’s true. We can’t grow some things I would like to, but I am quite happy with what we can grow, especially these azaleas.

  23. Dreamybee says:

    Oh, Frances, these are beautiful! I can’t blame you for not wanting to be inside while all of this is happening outside!

    Hi Dreamybee, thanks so much. Being outdoors is what I want to be, even in winter, but right now, I can barely stay inside. So much to see and enjoy.

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