The First Azalea Bloom… Spring is Knocking…

Dear Reader:

Happiness is… the first sighting of the first azalea in the side garden. I had gone to pick a pretty camellia to put in the house but I couldn’t quite reach it… as I gazed down, after my unsuccessful attempt… there it was… the first azalea with a little bud right beside it. I then decided to check out the back moon garden and to my surprise… I discovered the second azalea bloom-different color and just as beautiful… so I picked it and brought the beauty inside.

Love this geometric vase design Kaitlyn gave me years ago.

I decided to look up and see what legends or myths I could find on the azalea… most of them were Chinese legends concerning an emperor and a cuckoo bird… but, to be quite honest, many of the myths dealt with azaleas’ poisoning enemies… all with strange ” cuckoo” plots… until… I found this story.

Ancient legends tell that once there was an emperor who was victorious in battles and war but not so much with love. He was lonely. One day he received a bouquet of azaleas that brightened his sadness. He became so enchanted by their beauty he began planting them in his garden. Almost immediately he found the woman of his dreams …. the love of his life. They married and lived happily ever after.

Today there are over 10,000 varieties of the azalea from Asia to North America. Different colors have different symbols and meanings.

White azaleas express first loves and can be sent to someone you have just started dating and are excited about….
Red azaleas are sent more often as wedding anniversary bouquets symbolizing long-lasting relationships

In our country… the first azaleas in the outdoor were planted in 1830 at a rice plantation in South Carolina. Until then Americans only grew azaleas in greenhouses. John Grimke Drayton , owner of the rice plantation, liked azaleas so much he imported them from Philadelphia’s greenhouses to his private estate garden. In 1871 Drayton opened the Magnolia gardens to the public that is now one of the oldest American public gardens. Thousands of Americans and international tourists come annually to see the azaleas bloom in the spring. ( We are just a few short weeks away from this beautiful pilgrimage again.)

… And don’t forget, as a long, long time resident of Summerville… we, too, are known for our azaleas… especially 16 acres of Azalea Park and our annual azalea festival.

So until tomorrow…

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Every day now I unearth life hidden under dead winter leaves and broken twigs… seeing life return, in whatever form, is sacred, and deserves a moment of silence and gratitude.

There is always new entertainment being offered at Magnolia Plantation and gardens…on February 25….

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The First Azalea Bloom… Spring is Knocking…

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Love when the camellias and azeleas overlap…when we moved her in the fall of 75 the next spring I got so excited about the beauty of the wisteria…spanish moss …azeleas and camellias…kept calling my parents to come see the beauty …there was a professor at GWU who was a dear friend of Mother’s…Dean Terrell…he and his wife came every spring to Svlle …fell in love with my new home…they got here and saw what I meant…Heaven on earth.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I fell in love with Summerville decades ago and feel so fortunate my children got to grow up in Summerville with its old town charm and beauty beyond expression! Long live the azaleas!

      Sent from my iPhone


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