We used to have a hedge of azalea bushes along the front of our house. They were there when we moved in and for a short time in the spring they are totally stunning to behold. The rest of the year they form an innocuous band of green that needs to be trimmed regularly.
The other half of the massive hedge in front of our house was a row of holly bushes. They also need to be trimmed regularly. It adds up to a lot of trimming. I guess I should point out that I don't actually do any of the trimming. The landscapers do a fabulous job but it's a job that needs to be done over and over again. I was ready for something else.
We had all the holly bushes and all the azaleas removed over the winter. The holly bushes were taken away and hopefully donated to the holly-deprived within our community. The azaleas were more carefully extracted and replanted to various sheltered areas on the property. Three were planted in a cluster between three large crepe myrtles in the outer yard. Azaleas were planted singly along our front fence always on the east side of larger shrubs for protection from the western sun or in small groups of two or three in other protected areas.
Notice the odd shape of these bushes. You can see which side was up against the wall of holly and which side was growing towards the light. They look funny now but should be stunning when they grow and fill in and round out. I can't wait.
When you drive around this part of the world in the early spring, you will see the azaleas in bloom. The ones that are the most impressive to me are the ones that are allowed to grow without being trimmed back. They grow into large tall shrubs with an impressive show of colorful blooms. That is what I want for my azaleas. To grow without any attempt to coral them. Let them get as large and wide as they want. So many azaleas are planted along houses and under windows where they need to be continually trimmed. Let the azaleas be free!
And so mine are. I think it will be wonderful next spring to sit on the porch and look out across the property to see the azaleas in full bloom. These past years we have had to look over the porch railing down at the bushes. I'll keep you posted next spring when they bloom again.