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,
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.
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.
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.
North Carolina’s red-clay soil tends to be acidic, which works well for azaleas. The ideal pH for this shrub is 5.5.
“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.
Two to four inches of organic mulch will help balance the moisture of the soil while providing nutrients to the plants. — Ayla Samli
Visit ces.ncsu.edu to find your local NC Cooperative Extension office.
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 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.
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
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
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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