Spring is finally here! Aside from 7 kinds of early bulb
plants blooming, I have 2 perennials and a shrub in bloom. These early blossoms
go a long way toward making me feel like a gardener again.
The first perennial to bloom for me this year was a hellebore. Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis), also known as the Lenten Rose, come in a wide range of colors from near black to pure white, with pinks, bi-colors, purples and light green blossoms. The blossoms are from 1 inch to 4 inches wide, and have 5 showy sepals (what you would call petals, I suspect). Hybridizers are coming up with new colors every year.
This variety has blossoms that look downward.
All hellebores grow in shade, or part shade and prefer a moist location, but do well for me in dry shade. They keep their green leaves all winter, but should be cut back in spring so new, better-looking leaves can replace them.
This hellebore started as pure white, now is light pink.
I have several colors, and the first to bloom started as a pure white, but now is a light pink. The purple-flowered hellebores I have fade to a greenish color after a month or more. These are very long-lasting blossoms while on the stem, but do not last inside in a vase. I have one called ‘Onyx Odyssey’ that is only a small second-year plant that has nearly black leaves and blossom.
This 'Onyx Odyssey' is tiny, compared to others I have, but has great color.
Next to bloom for me was Pulmonaria or lungwort. It is unusual in that many varieties have blossoms in different colors on the same plant, and even on the same stem. Pinks and blues are blossoming together for me right now, and pure blue or peach will appear later. There are 3 species of Pulmonaria, and most varieties have spotted leaves. All do well in shade, part shade, and in poor or heavy soil.
Pulmonaria comes in a variety of colors. It does well in shady areas.
Blossoms of different colors are common on the same plant.
Pulmonaria spread by root, and some gardeners disdain them for that. Me? I love their early blossoms and their ability to grow where other plants do not thrive. You can use this as a groundcover.
Daphne mezereum is a medium-sized shrub that is easy to grow, and hardy to Zone 4.
Finally, I have a daphne shrub blooming now with pink, fragrant flowers. It is called February Daphne, but blooms here in April and May. Its scientific name is Daphne mezereum. I like it so much I named my corgi Daphne Mezereum, though I call her Daffy. It is a slow-growing shrub that does not need much in the way of pruning, and will thrive in full sun or partial shade.
The flowers are small, but nicely fragrant.
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Ii have some fabulous unusual pussywillows blooming now, too. Click here to see them.
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