Here are some early morning photos that give an idea of why we moved South from New England. These sorts of scenes are definitely not happening north of Boston this early in the season. (As always, click on the photos to make them bigger).
In the Stepchild Garden, this is the "Stonewall Jackson" azalea, which is often sold as a native. In fact it is a hybrid cross, based upon the Florida Flame Azalea, Rhodendron austrinum. Regardless of its lineage, it is an incredible color, particularly while lots of things are still brown from winter, and one of my favorites. I love how the Reeve's Spirea forms a solid blanket of white behind the orange.
One of my favorite shrubs, this Doublefile Viburnum gets almost no attention and still keeps this great shape. It was trained as a standard for its first couple of years, and now will occasionally send out a sucker, but for the most part just grows in this awesome form on its own. The Doublefile Viburnum is probably most noticeable for the exquisite flowers and its natural "pagoda" shape. (Try to ignore how sad the perennial bed looks at the moment....the Stepchild Garden is something like the proverbial shoemaker whose children are barefooted.)
At the Big House, this weeping Japanese maple looks just beautiful now as it drapes over the stream leading into the larger of the koi ponds.
Pansies and Bluebells on the stairs leading from the koi pond up to the patio. There are climbing roses and clematis planted on the white trellis on the mid level. This area bakes in the summer sun, and has been very effectively underplanted with prostrate rosemary. The fragrance is pretty fabulous when cutting the roses requires stepping on a little of the rosemary.
This view across the big lawn shows the magic that happens in Atlanta in spring. Lots of the trees that are standing out in this photo are actually from a wooded lot next door (the dogwoods, some of the redbuds, etc.)
Inside the walled gardens, lots of things are waiting to go into the ground and various containers in the next several days. In this garden, as well, the Reeves Spirea is a beautiful accent at this time of year.
The White Border, most of which has still not popped for the season. Calla lily, white iris, ammi majus, white pentas, white foxtail lilies, and white allysum will all start showing up soon.