This is the time of year when you hear a lot of recommendations to drink orange juice. Far be it from me to gainsay that advice: I would drink orange juice for the taste, alone; its health benefits are a nice bonus. But it's orange flowers I'm thinking of on this January day. Just thinking of the cheerful color of their petals furnishes a sort of psychological vitamin C, as I attempt to shake off the winter blues.
Specifically, I'm looking forward to the flowers I'll be seeing this spring on an orange azalea. It's called 'Gibraltar' azalea, and it produces impressive masses of blooms. The flowers on this plant are no washed-out orange color: We're talking vibrant orange here, folks!
My interest in azaleas has only recently been rekindled. I've had to fight off a certain disdain for them, stemming from their popularity. Same with rose bushes. You know, it's that whole "familiarity breeds contempt" thing.
I have to remind myself occasionally how stupid it is to dismiss a plant just because it's widely grown. A plant doesn't gain popularity for no reason. And although I know I can always admire a popular plant while driving by other people's yards, there's still something to be said for observing its seasonal changes up-close, in my own yard.
Photo ©2006 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)