I Brake For Specimen Plantings
Do you know those bumper stickers that say things like "I brake for yard sales"? What about "I brake for Bigfoot"? There are endless, silly bumper stickers that cater to a broad spectrum of interests out there.
If I had one, it would have to say something like "I break for specimen plants". Or maybe "I break for specimen plantings" because I like mass plantings as well, and they can be a specimen of sorts—a fine example of how I think a mass planting could be used as a focal point. Similarly, a single specimen plant can be considered a specimen planting. Ok, enough of the semantics, "I brake for specimen plantings," it is.
Yesterday, I was driving down Henderson Mill Road, and something bright orange caught my eye amongst the waning, white-and-pink azalea and freshly flushed, green foliage everywhere. About half a second later, I knew I had spotted an enormous native azalea specimen in full bloom. About two seconds later, I decided to stop to snap a picture for my new Calendly profile picture. It was an opportunity I could not miss.
`The specimen I found this week appears to be a Florida Flame Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum)
and is several decades old. If I had to guess, I would say at least 30 years old, but it could be 50 or more years. If you would like to know where it is, subscribe to my website and send me an email requesting its location. That way, you can mark your calendar for next mid-April if you would like to witness it in full glory. I think it would be worth visiting in other months to admire its form, foliage, and size.
Imagine if this native azalea was never planted those many years ago. Imagine who installed it and where they are now. Are they even still alive? Their thoughtful planting on that day many decades ago was a bright delight for me on this glorious spring day.