Southern Spring Flowers and Trees

Redbud Tree

Flickr courtesy of Rotlady
Flickr courtesy of Rotlady

Spring Arrived Early

There was almost no winter in northern Florida March, but then is seemed like Spring happened overnight and now we have roses in bloom..The Red Bud trees were blooming in by the end of March. We have enjoyed the Azaleas and Dogwood trees for the past few weeks as well.

It was necessary for us to pick about 100 grapefruits off of our tree, as the tree was already starting to bloom for this season. The orange tree is also starting to bloom. There are numerous birds flocking to our bird feeder and bird bath. Yesterday morning I decided to put out the hummingbird feeder, even though it is early in the season. In the late afternoon I saw one of those precious little birds feeding.

Spring is such a beautiful time of the year but when it comes this early it makes you wonder if you are not going to have a scorching hot summer. Gardens must be planted early in this areas because the sun and heat will dry them up by July.

Queen of the Garden

I started taking pictures of some of the beautiful flowered shrubs and trees a few weeks ago. Azaleas are very popular in this area and often half the houses on any given street will have this beautiful shrub in their yard. They grow in many beautiful colors. They can grow to 6’ high and many are very large.

Azaleas were originally considered to be a type of rhododendron, which looks very similar. They now have an individual genus and are a member of the Ericacaea family. This is an ancient group which dates back to 70 million years ago. They were originally cultivated by monks in Buddhist monasteries. Nepal’s national flower is the azalea. There are two types of azalea, the evergreen azalea and the deciduous variety, but literally thousands of varieties. They are know as “Queen of the Garden”.

Spring Flowers

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Azalea Information and History

So many people love azaleas that there have been over 10,000 different cultivars which have been propagated by cuttings. Seeds may also be collected and germinated also. The first azaleas were planted in Charleston in 1848. There are numerous azalea festivals in the south and in many places throughout the world. Alabama has the Azalea Trail, which is a path that runs through private gardens in Mobile and there is an annual race in late March. Alabama is also home to the Azalea Trail Maids, which is fifty women wearing antebellum dresses that act as ambassadors of the city.

Azaleas take very little work but they do the best is slightly acidic soil which drains well. They can only be trimmed right after they are through blooming. If trimming is done later in the year the plant will not bloom on those cut branches the following spring. They don’t require very much fertilizer either.

The Legend of the Dogwood

“When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven,
And for Christ's cross its timbers were chosen.

“Being distressed at the use of the wood,
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
'Never again shall the dogwood grow
To be large enough for a tree, and so,
Slender and twisted it shall always be,
With cross-shaped blossoms for all to see.

“'The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown,
And in the blossom's center a thorny crown.
All who see it will think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.
Protected and cherished this tree shall be,
A reflection to all of my agony.'”

Dogwood Tree

The popular Dogwoods are among the prettiest trees and often used in landscaping. There are also numerous Dogwood Festivals.

Dogwood trees are part of the genus Cornus group containing about 30-60 different species. They are found around the world. Originally, in England they were called “dog-tree” in 1548, but the name was changed to dogwood in 1614. They have also been called other names through the centuries. In Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” he referred to them as whipple-tree. The whipple tree was used to provide traction in a horse-drawn cart as it linked the harnesses to the drawpole of the cart.

Dogwoods were planted for their dense, fine-grained wood which was used to make loom shuttles, tool handles and some of the first laminated tennis rackets utilized this wood. Pioneers used the twigs, peeling off the bark, to brush their teeth. Thomas Jefferson grew many of these trees at his home, Monticello, in Virginia.

There are many legends associated with the dogwood tree. The Christian legend states that the dogwood grew tall and strong, like an Oak, when Jesus walked the earth and that this wood was used for his crucifixion.

The Cherokee Indians also have a legend.They believe that a small race of people, called the Dogwood People, lived in the forest and watched over the trees, teaching them to live in harmony. It is said they believed in doing good deeds for others just because they were kind. Native Americans used the blooms of the Dogwood as a sign that it was time to plant their corn.

Flowering Trees

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The popularity of the Dogwood tree has grown through the years. They thrive best in a woodland type of habitat, with some afternoon shade. They need soil that drains well. They are a small tree, growing about 30’ tall and 35’ across. The branches are layered in tiers and their blooms only last for about 2- 3 weeks. The blooms are usually a beautiful showy white or pink. There are many different varieties, one with variegated yellow leaves.We were able to purchase a dogwood tree at a city tree sale for a very reasonable price.

They have been hurt by a dogwood blight which is a fungus disease. Trees out in the open with good air circulation are affected less often, but the disease will eventually kill the tree if left untreated. There are several other diseases that can also affect the tree, so it is important to check the tree periodically to maintain its health. They should also be fertilized occasionally.

White Flowering Dogwood Trees

Amaryllis

Amaryllis is a spring flower that is a nice border plant which grows from a bulb. They are quite common in this area and take absolutely no care once the bulb is planted,

The genus name is "amarysso", which is a Greek word that means to sparkle. In Greek mythology it refers to a shepherdess who shed her blood to prove her love, hence the color of the flower. It is thought the Portuguese brought the flower to Europe in the early 16th century. Amaryllis means "St. Joseph's Staff" to the Portuguese. There are other legends from other countries as well.

Spring Flower - Amaryllis

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Citrus Trees

As I mentioned earlier, or citrus trees are blooming while the grapefruit tree still had a large amount of unpicked fruit from its grand bounty this year. The photos I took show the flower unopened, then opened. If you look carefully as the base of the center of the flower you will see a small round green area which is actually the new fruit beginning to grow.

Citrus Tree Blooms

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Landscape

Do you have any azaleas or dogwood trees in your yard?

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In Summary

I hope you have enjoyed spring in northern Florida. Spring flowers always make me feel like life now has a new beginning. The weather is pleasant and the flowers are lovely. I even have a few buds on my roses. I sure need to be outside gardening.

The copyright to this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

© 2012 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 30 comments

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Just gorgeous, Pamela! You do live in a lovely location! I must meander through your hub and soak it up. Our spring is arriving here too - but in my yard its clearest evidence is the japonica - which is almost done blossoming, and leaves are appearing. It comes early, often while winter is still raging. This year, winter just hasn't raged, though!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Isn't it wonderful how everything is popping out! I love those redbud trees. I bet I could squeeze one in out front! Anyway, the National Arboretum in DC has an awesome azalea walk in a wooded area. It's beautiful and free!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Nellieanna, I'm sure spring flowers are just around the corner for your. Thank you for your comments.

Dolores, I would love to visit DC right now as the Cherry blossoms have also bloomed early this year. I appreciate your comments.


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee

Good job Pam. Well written and captivating. Your pix are gorgeous and your description most inviting. Voted up and beautiful...


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

samson, Thank you so much for your kind remarks. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 4 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Pamela,

The early spring is very beautiful but I just thought today it seems to be progressing faster than usual also. That may just be my perception but it does seem that way. By this time next week my lilac will be in full blossom.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Tom, I love lilacs and they don't grow here. Enjoy them! I appreciate your comments.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

I love this hub very much. I really enjoy all collections of beautiful trees here. I believe that it'll bloom in the Spring. I wish I have a chance to see one of them. Wonderful presentation with outstanding pictures. Good job, Pamela. Take care and rated up (useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting). Have a nice day :-)

Prasetio


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago

Beautiful pictures and wonderful commentary. We do not have red bud trees or dog wood trees here.. while azaleas and Amaryllis can be found in abundance...It is always nice to see plants and trees from other places.. Thank you for sharing this. Have a great day.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

prasetio, I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures and I appreciate your gracious comments. I hope you will have a wonderful day also.

sofs, I love seeing plants and trees from other places also. Thank you so much for your comments. I hope you have a great day also.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

My weeping cherry is in bloom already! It feels like summer in New Jersey! Your photos are fabulous. Up and awesome.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

BPOP, I imagine your tree is beautiful. Thanks for your comments.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

Great Hub Pamela. I absolutely adore spring as things come back to life nurtured by Mother Nature. The old girl has it down pat.

The Frog


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Frog Prince, I agree with you about spring. Thank you for your comments.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

There was a long, lovely fall in my area, Pamela, but no winter to speak of. Your photos are so beautiful and realistic I want to touch them to feel their texture. Thanks for the interesting information.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

It seems most areas of the country did not have much of a winter. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures and I appreciate your comments.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Just beautiful Pamela, I love azaleas. I had so many and a beautiful white dogwood tree at my old house. I miss them. I guess i will plant some here in my new place. Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed seeing your flowers...


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

always exploring, I probably would plant some also. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. I appreciate your comments.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Wonderful Pamela, I have so enjoyed a taste of spring in Florida, I love azaleas and your photos are beautiful.

Thank you and voted up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Movie Master, Spring has been a joy this year. Thank you for your comments.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, Pamela, such a lovely hub, and the Dogwood is gorgeous, I particularly liked the poem, how lovely. I have sweet peas growing now on my balcony, and the cherry blossoms are out on the trees, its lovely! we had the warmest couple of days for March since records began, and it was well up in the 70s here the last couple of days! rated up!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Nell Rose, I love sweet peas but I don't seem them where I live. The cherry blossoms are also lovely. Thanks so much for your comments.


drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 4 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

Very beautiful as you are. Voted-up on this Hub! Be blessed my friend and come visit when you can.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

drpastorcarlotta, Thank you so much for your comments and I do have a lot of catching up to do on reading the hubs of my friends.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing your lovely collection of spring flowers and tress. I think the legend of the Dogwood you put in the blue capsule is so amazing--how the flowers reminds of His sacrifice. Enjoyed this nature hub and rated up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Anginwu, I love the legend also and of course, the flowers. Thank you so much for your comments.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

What a beautiful hub with some very interesting information about the trees and flowers that bloom in spring.

Azaleas are so impressive when they're in bloom at they grow so abundantly and high.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Happy Boomer Nurse, I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. I appreciate your comments.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

A very beautiful hub! I love spring flowers, flowering shrubs and trees. The azalea is one of my favorite bushes. I particularly love the Legend of the Dogwood Tree. I had never heard that before. Perfect for spring and Easter. Have a wonderful weekend, Steph


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

atephhicks, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments. Have a lovely Easter.

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