Mid-Spring brings forth an eruption of color on all sides, from trees, shrubs, and perennials! Everywhere you turn there is a cacophony of color to enrich your life. Many of the best blooming plants in early to mid-spring are ephemerals and understory plants. Spring ephemerals are plants that bloom early, set seed, and die down before the heat of summer kicks in. These include bleeding hearts, woodland blue phlox, Dutchman’s breeches, trout lilies, and more. Bleeding hearts are the most commonly planted of these, with bright pink, pink and white, red, and white flowered cultivars. They thrive in part shade to shady locations and love rich, well-drained soils.
Understory plants include a wide range of trees, shrubs, and perennials that begin to bloom and set seed before the larger forest trees have fully leafed out. Many of these plants love part-shade conditions but are often moved to full-sun spots, and may struggle unless they receive some afternoon shade. These include redbuds, many viburnums, foamy bells, coral bells, deutzia, and columbine.
The cultivated colors of coral bells can be staggering. Each year it seems, new varieties of coral bells are added to the already over-stocked market. While ‘Palace Purple’ is the long standing favorite for gardeners, the new ‘Grape Expectations’ far exceeds it in color and stature. There are no less that 5 royal purple colored coral bells on the market today.
Columbine is an old standby favorite-one that is garnering new attention in the landscape world. Known for its seediness, columbines may send out several thousand seeds from one plant each spring. And while many of these do not grow, the ones that do can overwhelm faint-hearted gardeners. However, columbines can be used to fill in an area where slower growing hostas and coral bells are, and provide early forage for bees. There are many to choose from, but the red and yellow native is my favorite.
Iris is also beginning to bloom here the last week of April, starting with the low growing Japanese, then the wonderfully scented bearded, and followed by the tall, stately Siberians. Here at Grimm’s, we enjoy the blue blooms of ‘Caesar’s Brother’ Siberian iris and the variegated foliage of Japanese variegated iris, which has purple blooms.
These and many more things are blooming both here and around the country. Check out our selection of spring blooming plants and our extensive trial gardens and arboretum for all the spring enjoyment.