Finally, we are out in the garden. Still not particularly warm, but good enough to bundle up and get a few spring clean up chores done. The London Plane trees drop a lot of leaves on the ground in very late fall so many are still there to greet us in the spring. I like to get them raked up first thing before they dry and blow around the whole yard. As well there are the perennials and grasses that were left standing for the birds and winter interest to be cut down and hauled away to the compost piles. A light raking over all the beds freshens things up and prepares the scene for some new spring planting.
I want to get my cool vegetable crops started so next on the list is to prepare the veggie plot for spring seeding. Every year something needs painting as well. Last year is was the fence and house trim, this year all the outdoor furniture needs a fresh facelift. So, as with any garden, there is always lots to do.
The best part though in early spring is seeing those first blooms of the gardening season. They are usually not the biggest or grandest of the garden flowers, but after a long winter they are the real gems of the season. This is what I found today while crawling around my garden.
There are only about 10 species of Hepatica. They are a spring blooming perennial from woodland areas in north temperate regions. They have kidney shaped 3-5 lobed dark green basal leaves and bowl to star shaped flowers which usually open before the leaves have fully developed. Flowers can be pink, white or blue. The variety I grow in H. nobilis which is a slow growing semi-evergreen with very bright dark blue-purple flowers. An amazing little plant for first thing in the spring. I allow it to go to seed as it will slowly self seed.
These are dwarf, cormous, clump forming perennials. Small goblet-shaped flowers, usually 1-4 per corm, open to reveal inner tepals often in contrasting colors. Everyone loves crocuses in their many colors of yellow, white, pink, lavender, purple and combinations. I particularly like white crocus and grow ‘Miss Vain’ Another favorite has a slightly larger bright yellow flower,’Yellow Mammoth’.
A genus of 15 species found in scrub, woodland and grassy, rocky sites. They are rhizomatous with toothed, leathery, light to dark green leaves. The flowers are very long lasting in white, cream, pink, purple, pale yellow or green. The blooms are sometimes spotted and are pendant. It seems like every year the growers come out with a new cultivar so there are lots to choose from. Growing in my garden are Purpurascens ‘Red Lady’ and ‘Blue Lady’ and Orientalis.
February Daphne (Daphne Mezereum)
This is a small, upright deciduous shrub with pale green to soft grey-green leaves. Clusters of fragrant pink to purplish pink flowers bloom before the leaves emerge. This is why we call it flowers on a stick bush:) This is not a shrub you see very often as it is quite site specific. It does however like my poor, sandy dry soil. This shrub falls into the poisonous plant category along many other garden plants.