After a very unpleasant hailstorm the other week that prematurely terminated my crocuses and tiny irises, the next round of bulbs and spring flowers have marched in. Another of my favourites are the species tulips. Blooming early and finishing before the trees fully leaf out, they flourish and spread in the spring sunshine and will grow under trees as long as they get the early sun. As a bonus their leaves are smaller and often much more decorative than the messier large tulips.
Tulipa humilis “eastern star” tightly closed on a cloudy day and open on a sunny day
Starry clusters of Tulipa turkestanica look as if they have fallen from the sky and sparkle in the sun
Tulipa peppermint stick looks as yummy as its name and Tulipa sylvestris is known as the woodland tulip
Tulipa peppermint stick
All spread slowly and form long lived clumps.
Another lovely little known spring shrub is Abeliophyllum, sometimes known as the Korean white forsythia. It is more refined than the common yellow forsythia and has a delicate horizontal open form when grown as an understory shrub.
Jonquils make their appearance and like the species tulips bloom before the larger bulbs.
Even the sun shining through unfurling buds lifts the spirit on a chilly spring day!
Along with the bulbs, early blooming perennials begin to put on their show. The hellebores or lenten roses (known as Christmas roses in the UK…lucky them!!) opened in time for Easter this year with their beautiful sophisticated yet subtle flowers. They are a worthy investment but be sure to plant them in a partly shaded spot with rich soil and then leave them alone to mature slowly into a clump. There are several hybrids on the market with both single and double flowers but the original lenten rose is still one of the loveliest.
White lenten rose
I of course can’t resist adding my all time favourite flowering shrub/trees, a magnolia. From bud to blossom…
And don’t forget to look around when you are out in the country. The wild flowers are coming out and you can find simple delights like this coltsfoot growing by the roadsides.
Tussilago farfara or coltsfoot
It is known as coltsfoot because someone rather fancifully thought the leaves looked like the bottom of a colt’s foot. It is considered a medicinal herb and the flowers are edible.
Enjoy the parade of flowers and I can hardly wait for the next round of players to march on in!
Happy gardening 🙂