Robert Bush 8:35 a.m., May 25
Crape Myrtles and Western Azalea in Bloom
Crape Myrtles are in bloom around San Diego this month through the end of summer. This smallish, vase-shaped tree blossoms in colors ranging from white or pale pink to lavender, red, and blue. "Lilac of the South" is one of the nicknames given to this native tree of China because of its popularity in the warmer parts of the U.S.
Western Azalea, a native rhododendron, is blooming this month in scattered locations throughout the county's higher mountains. Fond of semi-shade, it's often found growing along creeks and canyon bottoms. Like its ornamental cousins, western azalea's fragrant white (sometimes pink or yellow tinted) flowers are borne in ornate clusters. Palomar Mountain State Park harbors a colony of them alongside a trail linking Doane Valley and Chimney Flats. White-flowering azaleas are recovering along the Azalea Glen Trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the area thoroughly burned during the 2003 Cedar Fire.