Perhaps the most famous display of azaleas in the country is at Augusta National in Georgia, home of the Pro Golfer's Association Master's Tournament. When the northern half of the country is mired in late-winter doldrums, the golf course at Augusta appears to be on fire. Even non-golfers like myself tune in just to get a shot of much needed color.
Cape Cod's soil and climate are suitable for azaleas as well and they are on full display right now.
Combined with the brilliant yellow forsythia, azaleas are flames of optimism at the foundation of a home, beside a driveway, or as a specimen plant at the edge of a woodland.
Azaleas thrive in areas where the winter temperature doesn't fall much past zero, which is U.S. Agricultural climate zones 5 through 9.
They are part of the Rhododendron genus of plants and include thousands of varieties.
Azaleas can shed their leaves (deciduous) or hold them year round (evergreen).
Deciduous plants flower in pink, red or orange while evergreens flower purple and red.
Evergreen azaleas flower earlier than deciduous and prefer partial shade.
Deciduous varieties prefer full sun and can bloom throughout the summer.
If you want to include azaleas in your landscape, plant them in well drained, slightly acidic soil --just what the plant doctor ordered on Cape Cod.
Be sure the hole you dig is not overrun with roots from nearby trees. These will compete for water with your azalea, and the trees will win.
If you already have azaleas in your garden and you want to move them to another spot, the best time to transplant is autumn.
But if you don't want to wait, move the plant once it stops flowering.
Just remember to water frequently all summer long as the roots get adjusted to their new home.
There are thousands of varieties of azaleas and Cape Cod garden centers have a fresh supply of the ones that grow best in our zone 7 conditions.
Consult the experts at these centers for specific questions about planting and caring for your brilliant and beautiful azaleas.