A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Plant Azaleas When azaleas begin to bloom in striking colors — pink, yellow, white, red, purple — gardeners around our state know it’s time. Springtime, that is! Lucky for us,

Madison County Championship Rodeo

Plant Azaleas When azaleas begin to bloom in striking colors — pink, yellow, white, red, purple — gardeners around our state know it’s time. Springtime, that is! Lucky for us,

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Plant Azaleas When azaleas begin to bloom in striking colors — pink, yellow, white, red, purple — gardeners around our state know it’s time. Springtime, that is! Lucky for us,

5 Items for Your April To-Do List

Brightly colored azalea flowers.

Plant Azaleas

When azaleas begin to bloom in striking colors — pink, yellow, white, red, purple — gardeners around our state know it’s time. Springtime, that is! Lucky for us, Hanna Smith, an urban horticulture extension agent (and azalea fan), has a few tips for successfully growing this Southern Classic.

1. Choose for size and space.

Pick an azalea that will fit into its new home. They shouldn’t need much pruning — just cut them back with hand clippers soon after the flowers fade.

2. Pine is fine.

Lace bugs attack azaleas in full sun, and the shrubs thrive in partial shade. “Plant them under pine trees because of the dappled sunlight,” Smith says.

3. Acidic soil reigns.

North Carolina’s red-clay soil tends to be acidic, which works well for azaleas. The ideal pH for this shrub is 5.5.

4. Water, but not too much.

“Azaleas are picky about having wet feet, so they need to be well drained,” Smith says. Their shallow roots will rot if they stay wet.

5. Use mulch.

Two to four inches of organic mulch will help balance the moisture of the soil while providing nutrients to the plants. — Ayla Samli

Have more questions?

Visit ces.ncsu.edu to find your local NC Cooperative Extension office.


Go to the Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade in Wilmington

On April 5 through 11, members of the Wilmington community can celebrate the Azalea Festival in a new way — by adorning their porches, lawns, sidewalks, and windows with springtime cheer. You don’t have to be a local to take part in the festivities: Load up your car with snacks and drive through decorated neighborhoods to ring in a season dedicated to new growth.

Download a Porch Parade map and learn about other Azalea Festival activities at ncazaleafestival.org.


Morgan Greenhaw holds three of her garden gnome creations.

Morgan Greenhaw’s signature gnomes are perfect garden additions. photograph by Stacey Van Berkel

Meet the Gnome Lady

Morgan Greenhaw has been stationed at her potter’s wheel all morning, carefully molding and manipulating clay until a familiar form with a button nose, pointy hat, and distinct beard manifests. Greenhaw’s pottery business, MoonShine Ceramics, operates out of her renovated garage space in Winston-Salem. The studio is just big enough for a kiln, a small worktable, and her beloved wheel, where her signature gnomes are given distinct looks: Some hats resemble glossy bark while others look like they’ve sprouted flowers or become a landing spot for curious ladybugs and bees. “Working with clay is very hands-on, and it feels very natural because I’m just playing with dirt,” Greenhaw says. “I feel connected to nature by just doing what I do.” — Katie Kane

For more information about MoonShine Ceramics, call (678) 617-6560 or visit moonshineceramics.com.


Little boy kneels in the plants at the North Carolina Arboretum.

Wonder at the beauty of spring at The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. photograph by THE NORTH CAROLINA ARBORETUM

Visit a Public Garden

 
The North Carolina Arboretum

Did you know? This 434-acre landscape has bonsai tree exhibits and collections of bloodroots and fire pinks.
100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 665-2492, ncarboretum.org

Sandhills Horticultural Gardens

Don’t miss: the Ebersole Holly Garden — the largest accessible holly collection on the East Coast — at Sandhills Community College.
3395 Airport Road
Pinehurst, NC 28374
(910) 695-3882, sandhills.edu/horticultural-gardens

Outer Banks Arboretum and Teaching Garden

Check it out! This garden is a testing ground for planting practices best suited to the Outer Banks’ microclimates.
300 Mustian Street
Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
(252) 473-4290, dare.ces.ncsu.edu

For 27 more North Carolina gardens to explore this spring, click here.


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This story was published on Mar 30, 2021

Our State Staff

Our State Staff

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.