I’m never really sure who’s going to show up at the Spring Garden Parties…it’s such a fickle dance. Who’ll show up early or be fashionably late? Will they be effusive, bring extra guests. Stand around half heartedly, even look bored. Perhaps they’ll chat like magpies or huddle together shivering and complaining. Spring is more like a house party that begins in fits and starts- gets rained out, stalls or lasts for weeks on end.
As an amateur gardener, albeit for a long time… I’ve tried to arrange things so that most years- everyone doesn’t show up all at once. Here in Alabama-
- We always count on the Camellia Cotillion to kick things off early- since they always bloom when nothing else is happening- they definitely steal the show.
- Back in those fickle February days, Flowering Quince showed up dressed to kill but the Yellow Bells never rang out even once.
- The Daffodil Trumpets sounded early and are almost all played out; they’re exhausted, really. And, Tulips stayed out of sight this year, the Hyacinths barely bloomed. But those the Wood Hyacinths are such nymphs- they came and went before we knew it- though we’re always thankful for the sweet scent they bring.
- It was a safe bet that the Green Iris Swords would come join the Shamrocks in March, we were lucky this year to welcome quite a few.
- The Judas Trees made a poor show of themselves and are currently weeping bitter and bloody tears on the driveway.
- The Roses had to cut back this year, who knows if New Dawn will even stop by.
- Oh well, the Violet Tonic Teas have been quietly huddled in small groups for weeks now, gathering strength and vigor, whispering among themselves.
- Last week, while we were waiting for Easter’s Dogwoods to unfurl, the Azaleas up and decided to make fools of themselves!
- Thankfully, the Bearded Iris showed up to chaperone, looking stiff and proper, though I must say, they’re keeping to themselves at a safe distance! I thought surely I could count on an array of Irises to keep things in check with their pale but piercing leafy stares.
Even though the Spring Dance started early this year, wouldn’t you know- it’s been taken over by the Azalea Ball! To be honest, the younger Azaleas are being shy about showing off- maybe it’s the influence of Iris and the Chaperones? In years past, the older Azaleas showed up dressed in somber green with tiny pink polka dots- sitting and sulking on the sidelines with a few shrinking Violets at their feet. Not this year- ‘Oh, no sirree, bobtail cat!’ They’re showing their bloomers!
I’ve decided Azaleas are subject to mood changes- sometimes standoffish and almost rude. This year, they’re snickering and giggling like magpies- dressed in ruffled shocking pink! I’m half expecting to see dyed to match shoes peeping out beneath their outrageous gowns! Honestly, the Mockingbirds are out in full force! I think even they’re shocked at the Azaleas! Unpredictable.
Spring is always unpredictable, yet she’s always missed, greatly desired, wanted desperately, dearly loved and really welcomed. It must be said, usually Southern Springs are flawed- by weather, circumstances beyond our control- like when frowning Jack Frost appears- throwing hailstones as big as golf balls! We try to schedule Spring’s Garden Events- only to scrap the actual Outdoor Parties. in favor of acting as bemused bystanders. Spring is anything but boring. Like well planned parties- either the Guests of Honor don’t show up or an uninvited guest arrives- we might lower our eyes at the overdressed Flamboyants or give the side eye to the underdressed, even the bedraggled or depressed which puts a damper on any party. Frankly, I prefer the Flamboyants, like this year’s Azaleas- with oversized personalities which offer Spring’s Garden Parties endless amusement.
The Azalea Trails in Alabama are legendary! We celebrate the Beauty and Bounty of Spring with irrepressible Joy! Okay. We’d like a little more notice than the nightly weather report. Honestly- The Farmer’s Almanac, the Barometer and the definite twinges of Arthritic Chips on our Shoulders are more reliable than the Weatherman. Still. Mother Nature and her Fickle Shenanigans!
But really, who am I to be judging the Natural World? When I’m up on my High Horse sitting on a Climate Controlled Saddle? I’ve been late. I’ve been unpredictable. I’ve even been flamboyant a time or two. Okay- rarely…I’m just saying, maybe I’ve bloomed at the wrong time myself. After all, I’m Camellia. I love me a good Southern Spring-
- Violets, Dogwoods,
- Wood Hyacinths, Bearded Iris,
- Daffodils, even prickly Quince and oh yes!
Especially the Flamboyant Old Girls out there having the time of their lives! Really, y’all- those Azaleas are crazy! Swaying and Sashaying! Thanks for stopping by our Spring Garden Party!
Love y’all, Camellia
*All photographs are obviously mine. **Judas Trees are the common Redbud- many call these trees with tiny buds and heart shaped leaves- Judas Trees, even that Southern author- William Faulkner. I’ll let you research that!