Landscape Project 21-2…Flame Azalea

Flame Azaleas are one of the most spectacular native spring blooming bushes and I bought mine a year and a half ago to be planted on the edge of my evolving shade garden.

“Flameout” in full glory from last April!

Thanks to my neighbor’s new fence extension, I gained a shady alcove that begged for development. The Flame Azalea I brought into the garden is about six feet tall and in a mammoth 50 gallon container that takes every ounce of strength I have to lift and move.

Believe me, I won’t entrench “Flameout” very far from present container location – probably where the yellow pot now sits. Note the early morning sun shadow and the fact that she will screen the A/C unit from the street view most of the year.

“Flameout”, as I have named her, is a yellowish-orange deciduous azalea native to this area and in higher elevations across the Smokies, it doesn’t bloom until June but here in the north Georgia foothills it erupts in splendid glory in the first few weeks of April. Now is the time to pick a permanent location which due to its weight and breadth won’t be far from the container location today.

The stone walkway through the shade garden. The Flame Azalea will be a great welcoming sentinel this side of the iron gate.

I will have to dig a three foot hole at least 2 1/2 feet wide and mix some native clay with a soil amendment to lighten the soil and give plenty of room for root expansion. A light fertilizer will hasten leaf development but not too much as the blooms are the most important feature. Sun is limited to about four hours each morning and the house provides total afternoon shade and wind protection. A good 3 inch mulch is necessary to provide moisture and temperature moderation. The location should be out of the main drainage area and last year I raised the flat rock path several inches over 2 inch rock to provide for a good under the surface drainage flow. Heavy rains will still flood the area but only for a short time.

The wrought iron fence will provide protection and the window and street view should be spectacular. A white bag of soil amendment awaits some action. Time to get started.

Since the azalea is last year’s cost and tools, soil amendment, and mulch are at hand, this major landscaping project is labor intensive only although I may have to invest a few dollars for aspirin after excavation of my planting site.

So Landscape Project #2 is off to a good start and when April 1st arrives, “Flameout” will be imbedded in her new home ablaze with brilliant orange blossoms. Buds are already formed and showing color but they will take another month to mature and explode. Can’t wait!

Buds are formed in the Fall each year so it is important not to prune azaleas until late Spring after blooming.
June in the Smokey Mountains!

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