After a long and bleak winter, early blooming flowers can lighten your spirits in anticipation of spring. There still may be snow on the ground, but if you take the time to plant some of these, winter will feel a little shorter. Most people think of bulbs for spring however there are many other plants to enjoy. Flowers are more pronounced on plants where they bloom before leaves emerge.
Large, white fragrant flowers emerges before its foliage, engulfing this small tree like a cloud. Fat fuzzy buds on the tree in winter. The flower buds and flowers are susceptible to frost so plant in a somewhat sheltered location.Densely branched, it’s great for a small yard as it remains compact for many years. Star Magnolia flowers before the larger saucer magnolias.
This is the cherry famous for the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. Considered one of the most beautiful flowering trees, the blooms have a slight almond fragrance. Fairly fast growth rate, reaches 20-30 feet tall so give it space to grow. Lots of sun leads to very showy, generous pale pink to white flowers.
This cherry yields a small fruit that is a source of food for many birds. Try to avoid the weeping varieties sold at big box stores because they are grafted on inferior root stock and are weak stemmed.
Amelanchier also known as shadblow and serviceberry is a large, native shrub or small tree 15-30 feet tall. Its lightly fragrant star-shaped, flat to saucer shaped flowers are white to pink. Leaves turn a bright yellow-orange in fall and are supplemented by red fruit that ripens in summer and is edible. Birds will feast on the berries if not picked soon after ripening. Try ‘Rainbow Pillar’ for a small garden.
Witch Hazel is one of the first shrubs to flower here in New England even if snow is still on the ground. The blooms appear anytime the temperatures go above 40 degrees making this plant a true harbinger of spring. The blooms have a spidery appearance and are lightly fragrant. ‘Jelena’ has copper colored flowers and ‘Arnold’s Promise’ has yellow. They like full sun to part shade but do not thrive in a too dry location. They are also native and can be found in woodlands. The plant also has many uses besides its ornamental qualities.
If you like vibrant yellow try Kerria. It’s commonly called Easter Rose because it typically blooms around Easter and resemble roses. It has a loose branching habit that grows to about 8 feet tall and wide. Branches stay bright green throughout the year offering radiant winter interest. Kerria appreciates a shady spot and does well where it has the space to branch out. ‘Pleniflora’ is a double flowered variety readily available at garden centers in spring.
Hardy, long lasting and easy to grow. Branches are covered in apple blossom-like flowers before their leaves emerge. It can get twiggy and irregular looking so place it in the back of the planting bed or keep it pruned. Used in a shrub border, it creates a nice dark green background for later blooming shrubs. Many varieties are available that also produce fruits for birds to enjoy. Newer types are more compact ‘Toyo-Nishiki’ has large flowers that open in coral-pink and white on a single plant ‘Pink Storm’ has dramatic hot-coral blooms with a pleasant fragrance.
No matter what you’re looking for in a landscape for your home, the experts at Land Design Associates can help. Contact us today to learn more or give us a call at 781-769-3286