Appalachia Gardening

Uncle Henry’s Azalea

pink azalea

Uncle Henry gave me this azalea ages ago. I planted it at the edge of the backyard.

Seven or eight years ago when we built the chicken condominium (that’s what my sis-n-law calls it) we never thought about the structure completely hiding the plant from view.

I was sad the first spring or two when I had to go behind the chicken coop to see the blooms. I even thought about trying to dig it up and move it.

All these years later I like the sudden surprise of beauty when I go around the backside of the coop to check for eggs in spring of the year. Its like a secret azalea blooming only for us.

Seeing it’s beauty always makes me think of Uncle Henry and his great love of growing things.


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  • Reply
    May 9, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Isn’t that a beautiful azalea! Our Virginia house had many different azaleas around it, but that one was my favorite.
    Ron mentioned layering a lower branch to start a new plant. That is so easy to do and works well, but you know, you could carefully feel around among the lower branches and maybe find one that had already naturally rooted. Tag it and give it another year before you dig it up, and there you are, a baby Uncle Henry azalea plant that you can plant where you can see it more easily……maybe from your kitchen window.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    That looks like a George Tabor azalea. My favorite.

  • Reply
    Sue McIntyre
    May 9, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    It is such a beautiful, delicate color. Tell Uncle Henry he has good taste. I will agree about the flowers being extra gorgeous this year. Seems like the first real Spring in a while. Cool in the morning and warm during the day. Every year for Mother’s Day, my Daddy would pick Mother a bouquet of wild flowers, including pink and orange honeysuckle (azeala) and sweet shrubs. It was bout the only time he gave her flowers. Enjoy, and thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Susanna Holstein
    May 9, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    What a beauty! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like that. I have a hidden snowball bush outside my bedroom window but in a corner where it’s not easy to see. An elderberry is trying to take it over, but the elderberry is going to get cut down this year. We have plenty of those, just one snowball bush.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 9, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    The flowers given to me are the most precious. I have what Mama called French hollyhocks and a patch of her four o’clocks too. I also have her ancient aloe vera–it almost died but I finally remembered that she had it in an east window. It’s really grown–a small miracle as I cannot keep house plants.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 9, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    My wife planted all different kinds of azaleas all along the front of our house when we first moved here. They all bloomed at different times so some were fading while others would still be in bud. This year everything bloomed at the same time. Even the two big rhododendrons that mark our driveway bloomed in harmony. Yes, the rhododendrons that wouldn’t live in full sun but are thriving after 25 years were an explosion of magenta. And her Daddy’s rose she transplanted to the back of house from his house when he died bloomed out with a chorus of crimson although it is hidden from the rest.
    I’m not much of a flower child but this year has shown me beauty I have never seen before!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 9, 2020 at 11:10 am

    One time Pap and Tipper introduced me to Pap’s Brother, Henry. I had never been to Jimmy’s Pick and Grin until the Girls had a Concert there. I was impressed by Henry’s playing and Pap wanted me to meet him.

    Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day and in 1913 Mama was born on Mother’s Day, the 12th of May. I never got to see her when she could walk and play like the first 3 did, but she treated all of us the same. There were 6 of us boys, including me. I’ve told my girls stories, as was told by my Brother, Buster, and he was the third one to live thru The Great Depression.

    Both of my parents died at the age of 72, Daddy in ’82 and Mama in ’86. Happy Birthday Mama and Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there. …Ken

  • Reply
    May 9, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Your lovely azalea given by your Uncle Henry made me think of my Uncle Henry, who cultivated my grandmother’s “Night Bloming Cereus”. I remember as a child, sitting up late with other family members on her porch waiting for the huge buds to open. He had several large pots from these original plants and gave me a cutting. We’ve so enjoyed them through the years, but they’re not so prolific these days.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    May 9, 2020 at 10:07 am

    That’s a beautiful reminder of your Uncle Henry’s love for you and the blooms every year are there to encourage you until you meet again in heaven! What a lovely azalea indeed! Many years ago a lady I knew (my husband’s aunt in New York) died and everyone in the family had received plants from her son’s wedding the month before. Every one of those plants died except the one they decided to place by her grave…. it still blooms and grows just as lovely as the lady was in life to this very day! Plants certainly are interesting and many seem to have a story if they could but speak in words. I often wonder about animals and plants talking and I’ve come to the conclusion they speak a secret and quiet language only a few will ever perceive. What a lovely world we live in indeed! We must choose to make the time to see that beauty though as this world tries to close in tightening the ropes that bind…

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 9, 2020 at 8:56 am

    That is sure a beauty. I’m not sure I have ever seen one with as pure a color contrast. I have a friend who has grown azalea cuttings for years. He has a wooded tract that is a wonderland of azalea flowers with all kinds of colors. He has been sending out pictures every few days since they started blooming and my wife and I have gone over and walked his trails once. I am going to forward him today’s post for him to see if he has, or has seen, one like yours.

    My friend got me started rooting azalea cuttings. My first attempt failed but this spring I outplanted 7 cuttings out of 9 that I started with last May. Now is the time to take the cuttings from this year’s growth when the new shoots are about 4″ long but have not yet turned woody. You can also layer branches that are growing near the ground and get the new shoots in contact with the dirt. Next year when it is rooted you can cut it loose from the parent plant. I’m not sure though whether it would be best to transplant right a way or to wait another year. I layered a limb last year and the little 6″ high or so new stem bloomed nicely which it would not have done as a cutting.

    You remind me of a redbud I planted at the church. It was given to me by a dear woman who has since passed. When I planted it, it was only about 3 or 4 feet high, a slender little whip. It is a respectable size now, about 20 feet tall with multiple wide-spreading stems. I was thinking just last Sunday as I stood in its shade at our outside service that it needs a sign “In memory of Anna Mae Owens”.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 9, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Beautiful picture. As far as I know there are only 2 native azaleas in The one I’m most familiar with is the pinxter azalea growing on the abandoned family farm. Dad was always giving me the common names of trees, shrubs, herbs, and wild greens. I didn’t learn until many years later what he called wild honeysuckle was pinxter azaleas. I too call it wild honeysuckle.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 9, 2020 at 6:39 am

    That’s beautiful! One of life’s little surprises, waiting just for you to come around the chicken house! Spring is like that, lots of little surprises waiting for us to notice!

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    May 9, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Henry, a wonderful gentleman and very talented….

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