The Azalea Bushes

in full bloom across Rice’s campus are always a welcome sight and a sure sign that spring has sprung. This year’s bounty of color — from varying shades of magenta, to pink and a smattering of white — didn’t disappoint. While the total number of the springtime perennials that enhance the university’s 300-plus acres is unknown, one of the first azaleas was planted in 1937 in honor of the 80th birthday of Agnes Cohen, the namesake of Cohen House. In the early 1940s, Tony Martino, Rice’s first gardener, began populating the landscape with clusters of the bushes. At the time, the plants were small and expensive, but his care and dedication to the flowering shrubs would be the beginning of an annual occurrence that graces every corner of campus and prompts a photo or two, like this one by university photographer Jeff Fitlow.