So with all due respect [wink] and please, no hate mail, but here’s my case against azaleas: They’re overused, even in such inhospitable spots as
full sun; rarely pruned correctly, if at all; and they add almost nothing
to the garden after their 2 weeks of glory. I shared this multi-count indictment with my Takoma Gardener readers recently and agreed with the suggestion by Washington Post writer Joel Lerner that azaleas be used as only accents. Please. Joel went on to urge gardeners to resist buying one each of every color and instead stick with just one color and if I ever find an example of that, I’m sure I’ll prefer it, too.
So here I am picking on azaleas again and it’s because, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have more evidence, the photo marked for the record as Garden Rant Exhibit A. You see, after those overly fussed-over 2 weeks of blooming, THIS is what azaleas look like for the next 6 weeks – dead flowers
in that nifty shade of brown, clinging stubbornly to the damn shrub.
And for the math impaired I’ll point out that 6 weeks is three times as long as the 2 weeks, which you’d think even nongardening Harry and Harriet Homeowner would realize is a bad deal.
So for these reasons and surely more, dissing azaleas has become common sport
among garden designers, even as their clients continue to ask for them. So I say to frustrated designers everywhere: Fight the good fight and I’ll back you up! (I know that’s a relief to you all.)