These azaleas seem to think it is spring. We had some low temperatures earlier in November and early December and now it is in the 70's today. These guys are so confused.
Azaleas blooming away...
Hello, PamelaQ. Wow, that reminds me of a blooming purple rhododendron that I saw in Mass about 2 years ago in October. Which variety is the one in the first picture? Looks like a Kurume Azalea, with the small leaves.
But be advised that this could be a problem and danger for these plants. It is a problem because those flowers are the ones that you normally would have seen in the Spring 2009 so I am not sure how much bloomage you will now get then. It is also a danger because it can result in dead leaves/stems/etc should the temperatures suddenly drop. Tender new growth could get zapped or worse. Worse because azaleas suffer from a problem called bark split that is caused by this type of weather scenario.
Usually, bark split happens in early Autumn or late Spring but, it can also occur in the middle of winter when the sap has warmed up and is flowing back to the top of the shrub... then you get freezing temperatures that freeze the sap, make it expand and rupture tissue under the bark.
I saw this happen once when I was in Atlanta, GA eons ago. Many shrubs and trees got tricked into blooming. Then the weather turned and ker-plunk $$$$. Lots of dogwoods had to be replaced.
Unfortunately, we cannot force Mother Nature to stop this. You can take a few steps though but not much. If you know that the temperatures are going below freezing, you can keep mulch away from the trunk of the plants (1-2 inches away is fine). This reduces the chances of damage to the trunk at the base. You can also try to cover the plant if it will not go much below freezing for too long of a spell. Should there be a problem, you can treat the affected area with grafting wax.
Since your plants look very established in your garden, this may work on your favor too! Newly planted specimens may not do as well as yours.
It sounds like you have spent some time with azaleas. These bushes were here when we moved here over 2 years ago. Somebody had planted around 30 or more azaleas all over the place here. They bloom all year at different times. Sometimes maybe only one or two flowers from other bushes. Of course, the biggest show is in the Spring. Last Spring, I went around with my camera and took closeups of flowers from each bush. I created a map and numbered the bushes and then numbered the pictures for reference. After all this work, I have done no more with all my data. Once I started to look up the azaleas for ID, I was overwhelmed how many there are. So I guess I gave up. Now, I just enjoy their beauty.
It is so nice when you move into a new home where the garden shrubs are already "ready", hu? They just need to leave a note explaining how they care for them! Ha!
I do not try to id plants anymore either. There are so many varieties that after browsing pictures a while, you start saying to yourself 'did I not see this one already?' Now the hybridizer may see differences quickly but most of us will not, specially on close up pictures that barely show leaves or the shrub. That happened when viewing a pile pf pics for daylilies and camellias.