Floozy Houston with the azaleas to show for it!

Perhaps nothing better defines the Houston spring than the azaleas. True, we have some deciduous magnolias that flower earlier, and the redbuds. Later on it is the crape myrtle trees that last so long into spring. Bluebonnets triumph on the roadways. But azaleas are everywhere in town. We have a trail for them too, put on by the River Oaks garden club. A lot of people like to drive by the massive dwellings of the hideously rich for their azaleas, but I prefer the simple ones the rest of us plant. Azaleas are not my favorite, for they don’t seem to sustain much native wildlife. They love our warm humid springs, but we have to pretend we don’t live on alkaline Beaumont clay, and baby the azaleas with loose, acid soil.

Like most Houstonians, azaleas are imports, these from Asia. The flowers are beautiful, but only for a short time, and the bushes take so much care. But for a week or two they make Houston glorious, and we revel in our spring, so much earlier than most everyone else.


A lovely azalea in our neighborhood.


When these magnolias bloom, spring is soon to follow!


One of those massive River Oaks dwellings with cooling bills more than our homes are worth.


Another nearby Houston garden, azeleas and a magnolia tree.


Who says bluebonnets are just for the country? This is in Bellaire!


This little lupine is quite lovely.


The butterflies love lantana.


These crocuses are in Oxford, England, just when we have azaleas.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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