If cherry blossoms are all about subtlety and delicacy, azaleas shake their booty in dazzling shades of pink, red and magenta. Yellow, too, but rarely. Ballerina vs samba dancer. Azaleas are difficult to capture: pictures look Photoshopped or saturated, even if you did zero doctoring, or it’s just a blob of red. They’re very pretty, though: well worth the frustration. They’re called tsutsuji in Japanese (try saying that after a few ciders!), and they’re flowering all over Tokyo right now.
Pruned mounds of Rhododendron japonicum (Japanese azalea) make sculptural features in the ‘Japanese Garden’ of Tatton Park, Cheshire, U.K. This is one of the precious few historic Japanese-style gardens in Britain that has survived from around 1912. The Japanese azalea was introduced to the U.K. in the 1860s and needs a moist but well drained acidic soil, in light shade. This garden is maintained by the talented gardeners of Tatton Park and volunteers from the Japanese Garden Society, U.K.