My azaleas are abloom. I'm very keen on perennials, and esp. evergreens. So I made sure that I put in a number of azalea and rhododendron (evergreen) shrubs within the first couple of years of moving to my own house after leaving apartments in Manhattan behind.
Not all of the azaleas, or rhododendrons, that I planted survived, but almost all did. I didn't always know in advance what color flowers they would produce, but I figured a rigid white-pink-red repeated order would seem contrived and arbitrary, so didn't care what color popped up next to what other color. As it turned out, I don't have any white azaleas, only pink and red.
I'm not really a fan of white blossoms unless there is stark contrast with surrounding flowers or foliage. Happily, part of my yard is covered in dark-green English ivy, which provides a dramatic backdrop to azalea and other blooms.
I have to trim back the ivy in some locations, because it is a powerful competitor for lite, water, and nutrients. Still, it does make for contrast that brings out the best in foreground flowers.
Late last spring, I saw a special offer on fairly large azaleas, two for one, in the East Orange ShopRite, and bought two of the last on offer. I put them into the ground and forgot about them (what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called "benign neglect", in regard to social policy). All too often, gardeners worry too much about their plants, and over-tend them, which can cause harm. It takes a while for plants to root and produce blooms or edibles. Fussing won't speed the process one bit. Too much neglect, however, can hurt.
I failed to make adequate note of the fact that we had an extended period of low precipitation and high temperatures last spring, and didn't think to water the two newly planted azaleas until I was out looking around the yard one day and saw the one farther north, badly wilted. I then watered both until normal rains returned, but it was too late for the more northerly one.
The other survived, but part of it died back. Above, you see it overarched by wisteria this season.
The lyter-colored, pink, azaleas seem to bloom sooner than the darker, red. I have noted the same phenomenon with tulips of lyter color as against darker. I don't know why that should be, only that it is what I have observed. That is science, when you observe something before you understand it.
I was concerned that another very dry and unusually warm spring might kill other azaleas or perennials, so was very pleased when we had substantial rain this weekend.
I was worried that the very heavy rains anticipated for Sunday might arrive too late, and I'd have to spend money I can't afford on hosing down specimen plants. But Friday nite's rain lifted that particular oppression off me, and Sunday's extended hours of rain let me relax completely.
As I was taking closeup pictures, a bumblebee arrived to collect nectar from the azalea I was fotograffing, and I got a picture of it, slitely fuzzy for movement.
Tho I permit my azaleas to grow to their natural extent and shape, a neighbor two doors down has trimmed two large azaleas flanking the stairway from the sidewalk, in a formal, squared shape. It would not have occurred to me to do that with my azaleas, but it looks good in that location.
If you are living in an apartment, bereft of the exuberant colors and forms of spring and summer flowers, you might consider buying a house in one of the semi-suburban areas of Newark, such as my leafy Vailsburg. Mortgages may be hard to get, but the rates are great, and there are many, many properties available cheap, and not just foreclosed houses, because the huge supply of foreclosed properties has driven down prices nearby. If you don't know how to begin the process of looking for a house and yard of your own, in which you can plant your own spring-flowering bulbs, perennial shrubs, evergreens, fruits, and veggies, I can help. I am a licensed real-estate salesperson, tho I have not yet actively worked in the industry. I do, however, have a referral arrangement with a broker familiar with Newark real-estate, and he can act as buyer's agent to steer you thru the process of finding a house, financing it, buying it, insuring it, and everything else involved in what can be a daunting process in which you dare not make a wrong move. (And if you buy thru my broker, I get a cut of the commission — which is all to the good.)