With such a crazy spring and the heat we are experiencing, plants are blooming off schedule. So last week when I saw this beautiful mature pinxterbloom native azalea in a neighbors yard, I could not help but stop and take a picture of it. It is the feature in their yard now and is one of the biggest ones I have ever seen. This is just one of a number of native azaleas that typically blooms from mid-March until early July in a typical year. This year, who knows, but whenever they bloom they are showstoppers. If you can grow an evergreen azalea, you can grow these beauties,too. Partial shade, fertile soil with adequate soil moisture are the keys to healthy azaleas. The pinxterbloom shown in the photo has an additional benefit, it is very fragrant. So are many others, and right now is the best time to search nurseries for these deciduous natives. There are also some hybrids and selections of these azaleas, so shop for color, fragrance and time of bloom. Then plant where they can be a focus plant because in bloom, as you can see, they are real beauties. After flowering, because they have medium size leaves and little fall color, they tend to fade back into the landscape, so you need to plan for that, too.