Azalea Festival Week

Posted by & filed under Natural Areas, Perennials.

I have moved across the canal, through the barricaded area around the eagles’ nest (something people can’t do – ha ha) and I have set up under a tree across from the Matson Garden.  Here I have a great view into Renaissance Court, so I will be able to see the coronation of the Azalea Queen tomorrow morning.  Yep – it’s Azalea Festival time.  This can be a very tricky time for someone like me.  The Garden staff is crazy getting ready for all the events this week so you have to be careful where you try to set your roots.  Gardeners are fine tuning all their hard work and making sure that everything looks just right.  That means they are keeping a sharp eye out for the likes of me.  On the other hand, they are so busy, they may not even notice me if I find the right spot.

This spot is a pretty good one.  I am right under the tree where the old eagle’s nest is.  Lots of people are walking by on their way to and from Renaissance Court.  They are so caught up in looking at all the flowers that they surely won’t notice me.  Azaleas and camellias are just about everywhere.  Spanish bluebells form a nice blanket on the ground behind me.  Across the road, in the Matson Garden, people can find plenty of interesting plants, from large flowering shrubs such as salt cedar, stachyeurus and viburnum to the small ground hugging flowers like bloody crane’s bill, mazus and skullcap.  

Only a few people venture off into the woodland area behind me to find some special treasures.  Several different types of epimedium are scattered amongst the leaf litter.  An Asian Jack-in-the-pulpit sits almost unnoticed in the dappled light.  A hybrid hardy orchid flowers quietly under the shade of a Japanese andromeda.  A viscously prickly butcher’s broom grows nearby, all by itself.  A variety of ferns are coming to life as the weather warms.  Because so few people visit this peaceful path, it would be a great spot for me if only it were a little bit more sunny.

So I will just sit here under this pine tree and get ready for the ceremony tomorrow.  People hustle by, entranced by the floral beauty around us and rarely notice me.  My only worry is that sometimes the eagles like to perch on the branches above and . . . SPLAT!