Sometimes nature’s intention to extend her beauty survives.
In Southeastern North Carolina, the Azalea bloom, its flora, color and symbolism, is anxiously awaited. It signifies the start of spring and festival for most Southerners, as the azalea is native to this region’s heritage and cultural traditions.
There have been a variety of azaleas planted and nurtured, especially at the Dr. Heber W. Johnson Rotary Garden – Home of the World’s Largest Rotary Wheel in Greenfield Lake Park, Wilmington, NC. There are currently 264 plants: 134 Autumn Rouge and Autumn Royalty. In and around Wilmington and Greenfield Lake Park, you will find thousands of plants showcasing the many varieties of azaleas, exploding with vibrant colors such as: red, white, corals, pinks, purples and bi-colors.
As the city comes alive with color and blooms, most often in late March and April, with ongoing blooms throughout the season, people begin to get outdoors to enjoy the warm spring days and park and private gardens. The symbolism of an azalea is that off “home” or “city.” In my interpretation would be that of community and purpose. Wilmington has been blessed with being named an Azalea City, and has held a major festival each April, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, to celebrate its beauty and symbolism. (Ncazaleafestival.org) in Mobile, Alabama the Azalea Trail Run is held each March. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azalea_Trail_Run)
Up close, the Azalea is rich in pollen for the bees and wasps that drink its nectar, and are velvet to touch. They are a stunning burst of color and create a sense of peace, serenity and purity.