In the past months, we have posted ideas of a number of plants to consider for this early springtime. Now is the time to watch for them, if you haven’t noticed them already. Here’s a review of some currently in flower, that we’ve covered in earlier blogs and are worth a closer look.
Hellebores (aka Lenten Rose) performed their Lenten duty providing interest in the garden on the gray, gloomy days. In most parts of the country, they are looking good, in full bloom, and now carrying us into spring. Remember unlike many new spring plants breaking through the ground now (Daylilies, Hosta, Tulips, etc.) that the deer and rabbits are quick to feed upon, with the Hellebores, most garden pests won’t touch them. Keep in mind Hellebores are a family of plants with unique variation in color and texture.
I have seen shade gardens where groupings of various Hellebore species and varieties were displayed. It was beautiful and untouched by deer. Explore the garden centers (becoming part of the gradual opening up of the economy in many states) and check out the Hellebores. The Bear Claw Hellebore, not as common, with elongated toothed leaves is a nice textural addition as well as the double flower types like ‘Double Ellen’. We were surprised several times in April with snow and the Hellebores didn’t even shiver.
Pansies might be one of the first flowers to show up in full color in many garden centers. The bright vivid colors are quick to bring color to a bland, brown spring landscape. Their ability to with-stand the unplanned frost and cold snap is encouraging and merits their use in unpredictable spring weather. We also discussed how Pansies have been developed to endure the warmer periods and expect them to look good into late spring and early summer.
The primrose (Primula) is the mighty little plant I mentioned blooming in an opening in the snow last December here in Michigan. This flower handled the late autumn cold and is equally suited for the cool conditions of spring as well. Though we reviewed several species of Primula, the Princess series (Primula acaulis) is the breakthrough plant offering bigger, bolder blooms. Also, the Princess series flowers are not as hassled by the summer heat as much as the standard English Primrose.
In areas of the south and mid-United States, Dianthus is popular (more likely the annual varieties), and noteworthy is the variety ‘Bouquet Purple’ named Perennial Plant of the Year by both Minnesota as well as Mississippi.
Calendula (Pot Marigold) is an old-world flower, found in Shakespearian tales but what is boosting its role as a come-back plant is the variety ‘Sherbet-Fizz’, certain to re-carbonate interest in an old flower.
-Rob McCartney, Horticulturist
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