April Showers bring May Flowers in Bethesda

Real Estate Agent with Hollish Hill Group, JPAR Stellar Living

When we first moved into our current home in Bethesda, the original owner had spent his lifetime planting azaleas. They lined the driveway from the street to the garage, overgrown on both sides like a maze leading you to a small passageway that lead to the front door.. The front yard was filled with them, including the triangle garden bed right in front of the home obscuring the front porch. Our lot, which was actually almost 3/4 of an acre felt tiny because the came all the way up to the small patio off the back of the house. For a few weeks each year it had been a bright color palette of white, pink, red and purple all grown together into a jungle of tangled branches and vines. A sight that the neighbors claimed was the original owners pride and joy. 

A few of those azaleas remain and brighten our yard each year.

We purchased the home from a flipper who cut most of the azaleas in the front yard leaving small dead stumps everywhere.  It was winter and there was snow on the ground so we didn't see the stumps until we were about to move in. 

The first few years in our home were spent removing the abandoned stumps and clearing azaleas in the backyard to make room for the kids to play. The plants were intertwined with English ivy, periwinkle and poison ivy. I'd head into the heat covered from head to toe and rip as much foliage out as I could while my husband watched the kids and occasionally brought me a cold drink. The landscaping and gardening had always been in my wheelhouse and still are today.

Now it's 18 years later and the yard is quite a bit different. I've added flowering shrubs, black currant and blueberry bushes, hydrangea, peonies, spirea, blue stars, allium, and a small garden. I replaced the dead cherry tree that we removed when we arrived so that we wouldn't be a gap in the cherry tree-lined street of Charred Oak Estates that is getting more and more gaps as time goes on.

I added a Hollish Yucca. When my parents had their first home my father planted a yucca. When we moved to our second home, he too one of its babies to our new home. When we moved from Ohio to New Jersey, he brought a baby to that home. When I bought my first home, he brought me a baby. After he passed away, I gave my in-laws babies from the Hollish Yucca. I brought babies to my current home. One of our plants has five babies this year, but no flowers yet. Another has a few just starting to make their appearance. They come out later in the summer and grow to be about 6 feet tall. 

The one plant that I left untouched from the original owner is the beautiful camellia that usually starts blooming before all the others - often when we still have snow on 


the ground. We had a mild winter this year so the crocuses appeared around the same time, but the camellias remain in bloom. 

Of course, my husband likes the dark purple irises of his childhood in England. So I have planted a few batches around the yard for him.

And finally, my favorite childhood smell and favorite childhood flower, the lilac. While my neighbors seem to have little trouble growing both white and purple varieties, mine have not really flourished as I'd hoped. But when I open the door in the morning, I can smell when they are in bloom. Reminds me of living on Bank Street in Painesville, Ohio.


What is your favorite flower?



The featured picture is a snowball viburnum in bloom surrounded by azaleas. 

This is part of the May Challenge: Shower Power

Posted by


Dana Hollish Hill
REALTOR * Broker * Coach 
JPAR Stellar Living
800 S Frederick Ave, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20877
office 301.944.9070  
cell  202.271.5301
web danahill.jpar.com

Comments (8)

Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Dana Hollish Hill ,

OMG the azaleas were such brilliant colors!! What a metamorphous your yard has gone under in the past 18 years. The good thing is you have made it your own with all the plants that bring such wonderful childhood memories!

May 30, 2023 05:05 PM
Dana Hollish Hill

Thank you Dorie,

It's been a fun adventure and I hope my kids take these memories on to their next homes one day.

May 31, 2023 09:28 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Dana:

You have such beauty in your yard...the azaleas are particularly colorful. What fun memories of the Hollish Yucca!


May 30, 2023 05:14 PM
Dana Hollish Hill

Thank you Jeff - 

Yes, it's always been a plant I've enjoyed. Each year I see if the blooms grow taller than me. 

May 31, 2023 09:30 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing your photographs.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

May 31, 2023 04:53 AM
Dana Hollish Hill

Oh Roy

I'm sure they'd look even better if I had your photography skills. 


May 31, 2023 09:31 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Love it! Your home must look and smell fabulous!

May 31, 2023 05:03 AM
Dana Hollish Hill

Thank you Kat

It's a lot of work, but the other gardeners in the neighborhood notice and comment which is very rewarding. 

May 31, 2023 09:32 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net


Enjoyed your blog page, and I added you as

follows. I would love the follow back. Bill

May 31, 2023 10:44 AM
Dana Hollish Hill


I've been following you for a long time. Thanks for commenting on my post. 

Jun 01, 2023 11:54 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Dana, you definitely have a green thumb, and have done a beautiful job at your home!

May 31, 2023 12:02 PM
Dana Hollish Hill

Thank you Joan

I've killed my share of plants over the years, but I'm learning. 


Jun 01, 2023 11:58 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh my gosh, what a beautiful job you've done with your gardens, Dana! LOVE the brilliant color of the Azaleas and those Hydrangeas are simply gorgeous. I can see why the purple Irises are your hubby's favorite - that is such a striking blue-purple color and I love the smaller, more delicate Irises too.

Thank you for sharing in this month's challenge - LOVE your photos.

May 31, 2023 02:16 PM
Dana Hollish Hill

Awww. Thank you Debe

It was a fun challenge and I'm glad I have some photos of the flowers in my yard. I always forget to take them until it's too late.

Jun 01, 2023 11:56 AM
Ed (Edward) Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

While you may have cut out a lot of the original owner's azaleas, you have certainly added your touch with a variety of colors. I like the large flowers of the peonies, even though they do not last very long.

Jun 01, 2023 06:38 PM