Idlewild Residents Transplant Neighborhood Azaleas
By Mary Baker
A group of Idlewild residents planted four large azaleas in Peabody Park on June 16, after moving them from the front of Regina Morrison’s home on Rembert Street into the bed around the solar system sculpture in the park.
A few days earlier, Morrison had posted on the Idlewild Facebook page that she planned to remove large azaleas from the front of her home, and she offered them to anyone who could dig them up and move them. Regina and her husband said the azaleas were too large, and they wanted to replace them with smaller flowering plants.
Margo Mueller saw Regina’s FB post and sprang into action. She quickly arranged a time to dig them up and asked for volunteers to come to the park on Saturday morning to help dig holes and put them in the ground.
Although it was only the middle of June, it was already brutally hot. Because of the terrible heat, we decided to surround the base of the plants with big pieces of cardboard and cover the cardboard with a thick layer of mulch. We also knew that we would have to find a way to water them regularly until they become established in their new location.
This led to the formation of our “bucket brigade,” a group of residents who take turns watering the azaleas using five-gallon buckets. So far our bucket brigade has included Margo and Ralph Mueller, Kathy and Jerry Brown, Rodney Nash, Pamela Lord O’Brien, myself and my boyfriend Cameron Frechette. My precious dog Paige comes to help, but we only allow her to supervise from underneath a nearby shade tree.
We have been helped tremendously by our neighbor Alicia, who lives near the park and has generously allowed us to use her water faucet and hose. This has made our task of regular watering much easier. By next summer, the azaleas should be established and not require so much water.
As soon as the weather gets a little cooler we plan to cover the rest of the bed with cardboard and mulch. Then we can add some flowering perennials in the gaps between the large azaleas. I plan to lobby for putting in native plants that can tolerate the heat and drought conditions that characterize mid to late summer in Memphis. I also hope these will be nectar and host plants for butterflies, such as echinacea, black eyed Susan, butterfly milkweed and coreopsis. If we do that, I can transplant the perennials from my own garden on Higbee Avenue less than two short blocks from the park.
This is the culmination of a plan that Idlewild Neighborhood Association started back in December 2011, so we are very proud. If you want to help with the bucket brigade or adding mulch in the fall or anything else, please let us know. An easy way to contact us is through the Idlewild NA Facebook page.