In a Vase on Monday: Azalea Buds

Azalea buds in March in a vintage apothecary bottle

Today’s “In a Vase on Monday” features pink azalea buds clipped from one my drought survivors.

During the 2016-17 drought in the Southeastern U.S., I felt sure the beautifully green city of Birmingham, and perhaps the whole state of Alabama, was on its way to becoming a dust bowl. Everything, even the most established trees, looked parched. When there was the slightest hint of a storm brewing, all we got was clouds, wind, a few drops of rain, and whirls and whirls of dust.

Like many people, we lost quite a bit of landscaping, including all the azaleas across the front of our house. (They were planted there by the previous owner, and it was an ill-advised location. Too much sun.)

However, spring 2017 graced us with lots and lots of rain, helping our trees and shrubs recover. But during that first year, the drought’s toll was still apparent.

Azalea bloom in March
One lone bloom near the ground has opened. I can’t wait till the whole bush is in full bloom for the first time in two years.

Though we lost all the azaleas in our front yard, the three in our backyard, protected by plenty of shade, survived. However, they did not bloom in spring 2017 when the rain returned. Similarly, my holly bushes did not put out berries in fall 2016. Everything was in survival and recovery mode.

Happily, fall 2017 saw the return of holly berries to feed the birds and squirrels, and spring 2018 has brought the return of azalea buds to our backyard. I can’t wait until the bushes explode with flowers.

The vase at the top of this post is a vintage apothecary bottle from my hometown of Augusta, Georgia. The writing on the bottle reads, “744 Broad St., Cabaniss Drug Co., Augusta, GA.” (Speaking of Augusta, if you want to see some stunning azaleas, even if you’re not a golf fan, tune in to the upcoming Master’s Golf Tournament!)

Thanks to Cathy and her blog, Rambling in the Garden, for starting the IAVOM meme. It’s helped me connect to other garden bloggers and makes blogging much more enjoyable. Be sure to visit her blog and see all the comments below her post to get a peek at what gardeners around the world have put in a vase on Monday.

In a Vase on Monday


Dark, dramatic purples inspired this arrangement on a chilly spring morning in Alabama.

Arranged in a Moscow mule mug, today’s IAVOM includes:

  1. Jean Scherer tulip: The purple petals are so dark they are almost black. These theatrical blooms look almost otherworldly against the bright greens of early spring. A few days back, the blooms were completely open, but they closed when cold weather returned. As soon as I brought this bloom inside, it opened right up again.
  2. Heuchera ‘mocha’: The new spring foliage is a lovely purple–a hue so deep it almost looks coffee colored, as the name suggests. As the foliage ages through the year, it becomes more of a dark green.
  3. Red-veined sorrel: These leaves will make their way into my salad tonight.
  4. Foliage from a black parrot tulip (not yet in bloom): This tall, sculptural leaf was calling my name for today’s arrangement.
  5. Foliage from a Camelot lavender foxglove (not yet in bloom): I interspersed the green leaves with the heuchera ‘mocha’ leaves to help them stand out.

To see what gardeners around the world have put “In a Vase on Monday” visit Cathy’s blog, Rambling in the Garden, and be sure to see all the comments below her post.

Note: The “vase” here is a serving vessel for a refreshing drink called a Moscow mule, a combination of vodka (2 oz), ginger beer (5 oz), lime juice (0.5 oz) and fresh mint served over ice. The traditional mugs were copper. Modern Moscow mule mugs like this one are stainless steel with copper plating on the exterior only (otherwise, the copper will react with the acidic ingredients and leach into the drink). Apparently, the Moscow mule was invented in the 1940s, but it’s become popular again in the last decade. After a family vacation where we drank a lot of these, my in-laws gave us a set of the mugs as a Christmas present! Here’s a link to mugs I have.