Downtown Knoxville in Fall Colors
Downtown Knoxville in Fall Colors

Happy 4th of July everyone!  I hope you’re all enjoying a nice long weekend.  I wanted to bring things back home this week (literally) with what I hope you’ll find is a fun little story.  If you follow me on social media, you may have seen me referring to a “top secret project” I’ve had going on since last fall here at our new house.  As I was flipping through my images for the year, I decided this week would be as good a week as any to finally talk about it.

Growing up, my family had a humongous red azalea bush that grew beside our house.  When I say humongous, I mean it was nearly as tall as our house at the height of its heyday.  It was a GIANT, and it was as brilliant red as it was huge. It seemed like every spring at least one person would stop in front of the house to ask what in the world the thing was.  Beside it grew a dogwood tree, and so there were many a Easter photo taken in front of the duo (see below).

What many of you may not know, is that during college, I bought that house from my mom and dad, and that house became mine and Holly’s first home.  My mother’s prized azalea had became my prized azalea.

Fast forward more than 15 years, a really bad ice storm and an unfortunate tree trimming incident later; the dogwood had long since passed away and the azalea… well the azalea had seen better days.  Holly and I built a new house, moved away, and the owners of the new house chopped down what was left of the scraggily old azalea.

Before we left, however, I had my good friend “the plant guy” (he likes operating in secrecy for some reason) come over and take a look at it.  He got some cuttings off the azalea, said he’d try his best, and then I didn’t hear anything else about it for nearly a year.  Last fall though, my buddy shows up at our house with a bunch of plants (it’s kind of a thing with a few of my friends now), including four small azalea plants, which he had managed to grow from those cuttings.  They’d spent the last bit of their life in a greenhouse, and so I didn’t want to really say much about it until I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to kill them.  As of now, though, I have managed to keep them going through the winter, spring and summer, and I’m happy to report that a couple of them even had blooms on them this past spring (pictured above)!  If I can manage to keep the deer and other animals away from them (a ground hog has already trampled one of them… it survive though!), my hope is that they’ll return to their once glory, here at our new home.

More next week!

–Dan Thompson

Downtown Knoxville in Fall Colors
Downtown Knoxville in Fall Colors

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