How We Re-created the First Southern Living Cover

Fifty years and several hurricanes later, Southern Living returns to Mobile, Alabama, with two truckloads of azaleas.

How We Recreated the First Southern Living Cover

In February 1966 appeared the first issue of Southern Living. And this was the first cover, taken down in Mobile of a beautiful yard covered with Azaleas. Well, February 2016 is going to be our 50th anniversary. So we thought, wouldn't it be a great idea if we could go down to Mobile to that very same yard and recreate the scene? I put out a post on my Grumpy Gardener Facebook page asking if anybody recognized this shot. I got lots of answers. We went down and searched, and we found the place.

And today, we are recreating the cover in this mobile garden. Now, we did have a couple of problems in recreating this cover. For one thing, Hurricane Frederic happened down in Mobile. So at this place in this neighborhood, a lot of the big trees were smashed to pieces. Pieces are knocked over. Also, there wasn't one single azalea there. Normally azaleas are gonna be in bloom in March, we had to shoot them in September or October. However, there's a new azalea type that was developed in Mobile called the Encore. And this azalea, not only does it bloom in spring, but it also blooms most heavily in the fall. We have a good relationship with the company called PDSI that came out with the encore azalea They had a crew of about eight people hauling these things around. We had a copy of the cover shot there, so we tried to recreate the look of it the best we could mixing in the colors the way they would have been used back then. Those guys worked really really hard.

The home owners were thrilled by the whole thing and I think everyone was really pleased with it. The resulting, and you'll see this in our February 2016 issue.

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