Spanish Moss

North Carolina Azalea Festival 2014


Tangled Up (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


There weren’t many blooms the day I visited Airlie Gardens for the Azalea Festival.  Heavy rains and strong winds had decimated most of the blossoms, ripping them up and laying down the tulips.  But the garden is resilient.  Pockets of azaleas enjoyed the cooler sunny day, raising their faces to the sunshine in defiance and happiness.


ImageEmerging (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


Soft green leaves had already shoved the dark leathery old leaves off the tips of live oaks.  These lively green leaves were bursting through the Spanish moss and greedily soaking in the sunshine.


ImageArchway (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


I found a pergola with a stunning arched entrance where I lingered, amazed by the treasure.  I’d somehow missed this architectural interest in all my recent trips.  Sauntering through the half moon shape, the lines in the gravel made by sun through the feature were fascinating.


ImageResurrection Ferns (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


The resurrection ferns lie atop massive live oak branches like icing on a cake.  Draping Spanish moss, filtered sunlight make the scene look surreal.  Indeed, it is…it is.


ImagePeeking Through (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


It was a lovely walk through a beautiful place.  Peaceful, serene, meditative.  Alone, I sat for long periods and thought of nothing but instead breathed deeply and became one with Nature. 

North Carolina Azalea Festival

ImageSpring officially begins for me with the North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina.

I’m not a huge fan of large events.

However, azaleas are blooming everywhere in this town and surrounding gardens!

Colors bright and vivid that make me happy!


2013 was a rough year for the azaleas thanks to numerous storms and cold weather.

Tulips planted at Airlie Gardens brought color to help accentuate the azaleas, live oaks and sweeping greenery.


Azaleas in more protected areas grew tall, creating floral hallways leading to lakes, benches and arbors.


In this image you can see the new, bright green live oak leaves peeking through Spanish moss.

The pollen is incredible.

My black car is now greenish yellow.


My favorite place to sit and think.

A sacred pine tree resides here.


Airlie Gardens is a small garden with easy walks through historic grounds.

A sweet place to be.

Live Oaks of Airlie Gardens

ImageThis weekend Wilmington, North Carolina, will be celebrating their annual Azalea Festival.

Last year I unwittingly went to Airlie Gardens in Wilmington during the festival.

Normally, I avoid crowds, preferring to soak up the peace and beauty in the quiet.

I wasn’t paying attention.


To my surprise the crowds were few and respectful of space.

Yes, I took photos of the azaleas and tulips.

But the live oaks draped in Spanish moss captivated me.

Most oaks here are hundreds of years old.

The Airlie Oak is over 400 years old.


Live oaks are evergreen.

They shed their leaves twice a year as new leaves randomly shove off old leaves.

The transition is always green.


Live oaks have enchanted the South for centuries.

They are one of my favorite trees.