I thought I'd post some of the shots I've taken over the past week or so of my azalea bushes and dogwood trees. Some of my azaleas are tall enough to be trees. I like them naturalized so the big ones are huge and even the smaller varieties spread out pretty far.
I always feel vindicated when my azaleas, in particular, start to bloom because during certain times of the year they look over grown and messy. However, once they are blooming they put on such a display that it's worth it.My dogwood tree is also huge and it's nice in the summer because I can park underneath it for shade.
After they bloom, I do cut back the azaleas that grow along the driveway side of my house because they start to obstruct the window and I also run out of parking space.
I like the way different azaleas stagger their blooms somewhat so between the various varieties I have several months of blooms. The green wall of plant material behind my car is a mix of white and pink azaleas that are just starting to bloom around the bottom but are only buds near the top. Below is one of the bottom blooms that are starting on that azalea wall.
Some of you may have noticed my spring header. May is skin cancer awareness month and the first Monday in May is Melanoma Monday to promote awareness about that cancer. I have stage III melanoma (no recurrences in four years) and I think it is important that everyone get skins checks so that it can be caught early. Although melanoma doesn't always originate on the skin, that's the most common place and the prognosis is so much better when caught early.
My melanoma was not caught early although it did originate on the skin (spreading to a lymph node). I had nodular melanoma which can be symmetrical and grow deep as opposed to the type which spreads out on the skin before beginning the vertical growth phase. The bad thing about nodular melanoma is that it starts to grow vertically fast. I have been very lucky so far that my melanoma in spite of being very deep only spread to one lymph node.
I wanted to go ahead and mention Melanoma Monday because a number of organizations have free skin cancer screening on that day. You can check out the American Academy of Dermatology's Melanoma Monday site and there are also observances in many other countries.