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Botanist's Lens: Azaleas, Peonies, and May Baskets

Azaleas, Tree Peonies, Mellow Yellow, Deutzia, and Oaks Welcome May!

Tree Peony Paeonia suffructicosa 'Kamata-Nishki'
Paeonia suffructicosa 'Kamata-Nishki'

Tree Peonies

Currently, Peonies are the focal point of attraction at London Town. It is impossible to glance anywhere else, but at the luscious Tree Peony blooms of, red 'Higurashi', pink 'Nishki' and pinkish red 'Taiyo'.

Flame Azalea, Rhododendron calendulaceum
Flame Azalea, Rhododendron calendulaceum

Early Azalea Rhododendron prinophyllum likely
Early Azalea (R. prinophyllum?)

Coral Bell and Flame Azaleas

Pink and mauve hues are also spread across the entire Azalea glade. Amongst the older varieties of Satsukis, Glen Dales and Kurume Azaleas, 'Coral bells' are most luscious.

As rewarding as Azaleas are when they bloom, their initial planting step needs serious thought on location, incline and drainage. "Azaleas are not plant-them-and-forget-them kinds of plants." (Source)

The other group of Azaleas that are in their best form are the flame Azaleas, Rhododendron calendulaceum. "This species is an important parent of many deciduous azalea. It's excellent for naturalistic landscape." (Source)

Close up of White Deutzia flowers
White Deutzia
Deutzia gracilis
Deutzia gracilis


Another robustly blooming bush that also catches your eye at London Town is Deutzia gracilis. Deutzias prefer sun and are a rather rewarding bush with their robust blooms!

New lime green Oak tree leaves
New lime green Oak tree leaves

Oak Trees

But flowers aren’t the only distraction at London Town, the tallest canopy layers are filled with new lime green leaves of Oaks. They are a delight after seeing large branches bare all winter long.

Spiraea thunbergii 'Mellow Yellow'
Spiraea thunbergii 'Mellow Yellow'


The new lime green leaves of a Spiraea ‘Mellow Yellow’ are truly prettier than any flower in bloom. (More information)

May Basket on Door
May Basket

May Baskets

May is here! Now hoping that all those April showers will bring us more May flowers. Attached today is also a picture of a flower basket I have made as an attempt to celebrate the 'May Baskets' tradition. My neighborhood garden club had a lovely idea of making May baskets and hanging them on doors as a 'pick me up' cheer during these tough times of COVID-19.

For making a May Basket, you don't need to run to the florist as any flowers or greens will do in a container that can hold water. I have used Oasis to hold mine. Even paper flowers would work.

Coral bells, Mellow Yellow, and white Deutzias fill up my basket of cheer. Here is to more May blooms and a tradition that dates back to the 19th and 20th century. Happy May!

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