One of my earliest memories of flowers comes courtesy of my father. When I was ten-years-old, he bought our first house in a place nicknamed “Azalea City.” Spring was ushered in with waves of show-stopping color. Every home on our street had azaleas in their yard and cars filled with gawkers cruised up and down our hilly neighborhood streets. Each year my dad would take his trusty garden book and select the plants he wanted to buy from his favorite nursery. I hated going with him, but it was not negotiable. In my adolescent mind, garden centers were BORING. I was in charge of pulling the wagon full of plants behind him.One day everything changed. I was unloading trays of flowers and shrubs from the car when suddenly, I really noticed them. Boring became BEAUTIFUL. It was such a weird feeling – a harmony created between us.I asked my dad if I could help plant them and he let me. I never minded the garden center after that year. Because of this, the azalea has a special place in my heart and my father’s passionate legacy lives on in me. Today, I live in a town that celebrates a legendary Azalea Festival. In the spring, over 200,000 people descend on our city to celebrate these blossoms and the festival events around it. Hundreds of passionate gardeners go on the garden tour to drool over gorgeous displays in the yards of select homes in and around our town.
My dad passed away twenty five years ago, but the blooms of spring are a vibrant memorial of a man who gave me his gift of gardening.
What about you? Are there any plants that remind you of someone special?