Gardening

In my post about our new retaining wall, I left off after showing y’all the final product. Since then we have done quite a bit more with the backyard. The wall is no longer retaining churned up Georgia red clay. It is now housing a variety of amazing Native Azaleas.

As mentioned in my previous post, my dad is something of an established gardener. What I didn’t mention is that he is also an established expert on Native Azaleas (a subclass of Rhododendron) and often speaks and gives presentations on his azaleas. Because of these presentations, I became his de facto plant photographer at a pretty young age. I have forgotten more about Native Azaleas then 99.9% of the population will ever learn. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when I finally got a yard of my own, my greatest desire was to fill it with azaleas.

Let me make something very clear – these are not your Walmart variety azaleas. You cannot buy these at any gardening store, and whereas store variety rhododendron do not have a fragrance, the majority of Native Azaleas smell absolutely fantastic. These are azaleas that only special nurseries or individuals sell. My father acquired his primarily from plant hunting and plant rescues, as they grow wild throughout the southeast. When I was younger I would tag along primarily to ride our 4wheeler, now I tag along to get plants for my own yard. He has also been sent several azaleas that are not native to the U.S. as gifts from around the world .

There are a vast variety of Native Azaleas: r. canescens, r. flammium, r. alabamense (can you guess where that name was derived from?), r. roseum (one of my personal favorites), r. austrinum, r. vaseyi, r. bakeri, and many more. Several years back, my dad even discovered a new species of rhododendron that is now name r. colmanii. I personally thought it should have been named r. trishii, but did I get a vote? Of course not.

Here are a few of my favorite Native Azaleas as well as a couple of my dad…

azalea5

(My dad and one of his most beautiful azaleas which is a canescens)

azalea

(one of my personal favorites, a flammeum x canescens hybrid)

azalea4

(my dad preparing a hybrid mix from two azaleas)

azalea3

(r. roseum)

azalea2

( a ball truss bloom of a flammeum x canescens hybrid)

Anyhow… when it came to completing our new tier in our backyard and filling it with plants, I of course chose to fill it with Native Azaleas. Andy even got to go on his first plant rescue with my father and me. The end result will hopefully be spectacular come spring 2015! As it is, this is our updated backyard (with a Whiskey cat included)…

yard

Hope you enjoyed my super geeky update on our backyard and our new azaleas! The grass (or lack of) will definitely be our next backyard project…

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