“Nothing Happens unless First A Dream”-Carl Sandberg

One of my favorite quotes since high school, I’ve kept it in mind. Those of us who are creative, are always dreaming! Though much may pass, some dreams are seen to fruition. To me, that’s happened in many ways.

My first home in 1970’s was on a half-acre in the NJ PINELANDS. This area is near the first World Biosphere. The soil is largely sandy and acid with plants, wildlife which are unique. I miss it for the solitude. It was challenging to only grow plants that would not alter the environment. I had oaks and pines.

There I had a dream of my second- favorite plants-Rhododendron species. The azaleas and rhodos are mostly understory shrubs here. I began pathways by leaving the wild blueberries only in the beds. The beds were made up of leaves and pine needles, too. Because there were no earthworms in the soil, the leaves didn’t readily decompose.

R.’Nellie Moser’

I started to add suitable azaleas and rhododendrons that could exist in that soil. (Some cannot as they need more moisture.) The gardens had a start. Unfortunately, I was not living there but only 7 years. The dream had a beginning, though.

The next house was in a small city with a very small property. I had planned gardens and people loved it. I had that place 11 years and expanded my ideas more. Still, my dream was always for a larger property in a quiet town. We have been here 22 years now.

What was my “dream” anyway? Having casual design with controlled-woodlands and including pathways and trails. We’ve seen it all to fruition with God’s help! I saw a similar photo, years before, when in an apt. that had azaleas and rhodos in a controlled-woodland setting. Since then, the photo has been in my mind. It paid off.

Over the years we travelled to historic gardens and homes where I gleaned ideas in photos. I don’t travel much now but have many garden books and plans if it all. The photos here are examples of the May blooms of my collection of azaleas and rhodos. Some are unique.


My all-time favorite flower/plant/tree, of course, is still the native Southern Magnolia. Second to this is the Rhododendron species. Here on this property we can have it all.


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