azalea_1Like a lot of people who started gardening in the early 1980s, I was in love with Azaleas.

Since then, I’ve moved on to other shrub passions like this variegated Weigela–azalea_2

and the native/Asian cross, Calycanthus Hartladge Wine. azalea_3

But one of my 80s  Azaleas still makes my heart beat faster. azalea_4

This is George Tabor, two of them  actually, flanking the path in our woods. 

Every spring my passion for this big, beautiful azalea  is rekindled.  I love it very much!azalea_5

So if you are just starting to shape your  Southern garden (and planting shrubs is the way to do it, BTW), make room for at least one Azalea–George Tabor. 

Any other suggestions? What are your must have shrubs?