Many people rely on crocus, tulips and daffodil bulbs to give spring colour, but several other spring bloomers are available to grow. Most are relatively low growing and will tolerate various conditions offered to them, thereby allowing all gardeners to give them a try.
Pulmonaria – commonly called “Lungwort” and named for the spotted leaves that were thought to help cure lung diseases long ago. Many varieties are obtainable, with more being created all the time. The leaves vary; dark green with grey spots, medium green with a white edge or even an almost all silver-grey with a green edge. Flower colours also vary; pink, white, dark blue, lilac and medium blue with pink. Tolerant of shade or full sun, it thrives best in a moist condition and grows 8 inches to 14 inches tall.
Arabis – Plain green or a variegated leaf form is available to this ground-hugging plant. Commonly seen white flowers cover the foliage, but a striking bright purple is also available. This plant loves sunny, dry conditions and thrives in a rockery setting, gently flowing over the stones.
Creeping Phlox – Small lance-shaped leaves smother the stems, creating this very low-growing, creeping plant. Flowers appear within the leaves, almost stifling the foliage, in colours of purple, lilac, pink and white. This plant needs full sun to perform its best and does extremely well in a xeriscape situation. Only reaching a height of 4 inches, it slowly creeps outward every season.
Bloodroot – Bright white, single or double flowers suddenly appear with this plant. The leaves emerge from the ground wrapped singly together, only to uncurl themselves to show their softly rounded dark green foliage. The buttercup-shaped flowers appear from underneath the ground a few days later, to face their soft-to-the-touch shimmering petals upward. It grows 4 to 6 inches tall, and prefers a woodland setting, yet will tolerate other gardening situations.
Shooting Star – a native to North America, this plant may be difficult to locate for your garden. Smooth leaves form a rosette at the base, which flower stems rise up to 12 inches above. The flowers are interesting, as their petals all face backwards, leaving the staemens in full view. Blossom colours available are burgundy, pink and white, and when placed in a part-shaded location its colour stays true. This plant does not multiply readily, but will return dependably each spring to show its blossoms in May.
Pasque Flower – Fuzzy blossoms of purple, white, lilac and pink adorn themselves atop the finely cut foliage of this pretty plant. Only growing 6 to 8 inches tall, it tolerates part-shade or full-sun locations, as well as moist or dry soils. It does not expand quickly, instead staying in a neat clump and is certainly worth a spot in any garden.
Violets – What would a garden be without one form of the viola family! Tall white woodland varieties, to shorter white, yellow or purple flowered varieties can be placed anywhere throughout the garden. Thriving in shade or sun, its only need is a moist location, which can be achieved artificially with once-a-week waterings and mulch. They propogate easily; self-sowing and by underground runners, making this plant an easy keeper.
Primula – Commonly called “Primrose”, the varieties will astound you. All colours are available except blue, either single coloured or two-toned. The leaves are medium to dark green and are rough and crinkled looking. The flower petals can be piled on top of eachother just above the leaves, in loose sprays or in tight balls above the leaf rosettes. Growing from 6 inches to 12 inches tall, it thrives in any moisture-retentive location.
There are other plants available to help your gardens look great in spring, with their many blossom colours and variations of foliage. Once grown in your garden, you are sure to find many more that suit all of your gardening needs.
Spring Perennial Plant Sale
The 3rd Annual Spring Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, May 6th, 2000, 8am to 1pm at 367 Irvine Street in Elora (just north of the St. Mary’s School). These are plants grown in Jennifer’s gardens, with many different varieties of herbs, bulbs and perennials available to be purchased. These plants range from easy and moderate to grow and will thrive in shade or full sun locations. Any questions can be asked on the day as well, and signs will be posted.
Whats in a name
Email: Jennifer Moore