I've probably written on azaleas before. Many serious gardeners here turn up their noses at them as common. And it's true. You can travel around older parts of Sacramento looking at the most unimaginative, uninspired gardens, those with hedges clipped into ugly squares and green meat balls, and find a clipped hedge of flowers in February and March. Those are the azaleas. (Newer suburbs have even more unimaginative gardens. It's hard to travel through vast swathes of Elk Grove, Rocklin and Roseville and find anything other than juniper and ivy.)
But here's the problem. Azaleas love the climate. They almost never get bugs, bloom reliably and, if not clipped to within an inch of their lives, provide an attractive background to other, more interesting, plants later in the season. And even if neglected, as mine have been lately, they will survive anyway. So I'm going to rehabilitate my azaleas and plant a couple more--preferably late bloomers (April into May).