Dogwoods and Azaleas  ... Memphis in the Spring


All photos by Gene Gill


Growing up in Memphis I always appreciated the beauty of the Spring when the Dogwood Trees and the Azaleas bloomed.  Indeed, both plants thrived on the Tech front campus.  After moving to Southern California in 1954, I missed the arrival of Spring when these plants bloomed.  Azaleas grew in California but they were quite small and unimpressive.  Dogwoods didn't grow here. 

After graduation from Tech, I had always kept in touch with George Piaggio (Tech Art Teacher).  Some of you might remember that he lived on a flower farm which was "way out in Raleigh".  On the farm I knew he grew Dogwoods and Azaleas.  In 1957 when my mother and Dad were flying out to California to visit, I asked Mr. Piaggio if he could send a Dogwood cutting.   He sent 4 small plants with roots and I managed to get one to grow in a pot on my patio.  It thrived for over a year and then suddenly died.  Keeping it alive had become my crusade, but my guess is that it doesn't get cold enough during our winters.  I never tried to grow another one but I never forgot my feelings for the Dogwoods around Memphis. 

Fast forward to 2000.  Since moving to California, I had been "lost" to my Tech Class of 1951.  They found me in 2000 and invited me to our 50th Reunion in 2001.  At first I wasn't going but then I decided to make the trip.  That turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.  I had such a great time visiting my old friends from long ago, that I decided to return again in April the next year. 

During the 2002 visit, on the way from the airport to the motel in Germantown, I kept seeing these beautiful blooming trees and huge red-hued blooming shrubs.  They were spectacular!  Suddenly it hit me!  These were the plants I missed from my childhood, and they were in full bloom.  

I took many excursions during this visit, to simply drive around Memphis and admire the landscaping.  And there is no city in the world as beautiful as Memphis in the Spring when the Dogwoods and Azaleas are in bloom. 

Since that original 2001 visit, I have returned to Memphis every April - and plan to return again this April (2010).

- Gene Gill 




The Historic-Memphis website does not intentionally post copyrighted photos and material without permission or credit.  On occasion a "non-credited" photo might possibly be posted because we were unable to find a name to give credit.  Because of the nature of our non-commercial, non-profit, educational website, we strongly believe that these photos would be considered "Fair Use.  We have certainly made no monetary gain, although those using this website for historic or Genealogy research have certainly profited.  If by chance, we have posted your copyrighted photo, please contact us, and we'll remove it immediately, or we'll add your credit if that's your choice.  In the past, we have found that many photographers volunteer to have their works included on these pages and we'll  also do that if you contact us with a photo that fits a particular page. 


The "Historic-Memphis" website would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their contributions which helped make this website possible:  Memphis Public Library, Memphis University Library, Memphis Law Library, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis Press Scimitar, Shelby County Register of Deeds, Memphis City Schools, Memphis Business Men's Club, Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Memphis City Park Commission, Memphis Film Commision, Carnival Memphis, Memphis Historical Railroad Page, Memphis Heritage Inc, Beale Street Historic District, Cobblestone Historic District, Memphis Historic Districts, Vance Lauderdale Family Archives, Tennessee State Archives, Library of Congress, Kemmons Wilson Family, Richard S. Brashier, Lee Askew, George Whitworth, Woody Savage and many individuals whose assistance is acknowledged on the pages of their contributions.  Special thanks to Memphis Realtor, Joe Spake, for giving us carte blanche access to his outstanding collection of contemporary Memphis photos.

We do not have high definition  copies of the photos on these pages.  If anyone wishes to secure high definition photos,  you'll have to contact the photographer  or the collector.  (To avoid any possibility of contributing to SPAM, we do not maintain a file of email addresses for anyone who contacts us).