As winter ends, the first things to come into flower are the various small bulbs and the hellebores.
Narcissus Rijnveld's Early Sensation is up early on Febuary 1 in the school garden in a nice warm spot by the wall. Like all narcissus, it multiplies each year, narcissus are probably the most reliable of bulbs in our area in terms of permanence and lack of pest problems.
Iris reticulata can be considerably less permanent than any narcissus but every now and then a particular bulb decides to stick around and multiply. This one is several years old in the school garden and is up as early as the Narcissus shown above is. They were early this past year, in bad years (ie cold winters) both can wait till March instead of showing in early February.
Cyclamen coum is early with its showy flowers and equally showy foliage.
A small Draba species grown from NARGS leftover seeds is among the early bloomers in March.
In this large pot I have Adonis amurensis, which has survived and bloomed for several years. I haven't planted it in the open gardens but it seems happy where it is. I had them before we moved and the rocks were to keep the squirrels from digging them up. We have even more squirrels here but they are quickly relocated to more appropriate living areas as fast as I can catch them.
More tulips show up before mid April on a nice sunny day.
Jeffersonia dubia is an east Asian woodlander that does well here. I got my plants from our rock gardening friends in town. They have been spectacularly successful with this species to the point that it self sows vigorously for them. The large seeds need to be in the ground soon after they are shed which is why dry stored seed is much less likely to germinate than fresh seed. Seedlings appear the following spring and bloom around their third year.
Corydalis solida, this time in purple, is a diminutive spring ephemeral. They are long lived and the tubers multiply and eventually they start self sowing. They disappear underground long before summer arrives.
Ipheon uniflorum is an onion relative from South America that, like Muscari, tends to sprout in fall but really doesnt grow much till spring, then it flowers when the weather is more settled.
A cute little potentilla I acquired at a Berkshire chapter of NARGS plant sale. I got it half price I think, if not for free as no one else seemed to want it. Maybe its because it didn't look all that exciting in fall when I brought it but it sure is charming in spring. Or maybe it just wanted to thank me for saving it
Every year this Lathyrus vernus gets bigger and I successfully transplanted it to our home when we moved in back in late 2012. It has also cast seeds far and wide so new smaller plants are beginning to reach flowering size in the same general area.
I slowly began to tame the .64 acres this property sits on from the moment we got here. It took me about three years to fully get rid of the lawns and make all of the property into gardens. This is part of the back slope under three large hemlocks that mark the border with our neighbor's John and Maggie. The hemlocks have been attacked by adelgid insects, an invasive species that threatens our native hemlocks continued existence. I have had some lower branches cut to let more light in and also treated the hemlocks with a systemic that should control the adelgids. If the trees die I will replace them with smaller trees or bushes that are less competitive with the flowers I plant beneath them. Nonetheless I have found that bulbs do well here, perhaps because the hemlocks tend to absorb summer moisture from the rocky shallow soil which many dormant bulbs like. Many other plants are in the same area, such as several species of aquilegia, Alstroemeria aurantiaca, hellebores, and resowing annuals such as Silene armeria and Impatiens bicolor. Part of this area is slowly becoming a rock garden of sorts too.
Our native pachysandra, Pachysandra procumbens, is not nearly as invasive as the evergreen Asian species planted everywhere in the neighborhood. Its leaves may not look as good after a hard winter (but this past winter was quite mild) but the foliage is mottled and more interesting, and the flowers are a modest but cute bonus in April.
A Polygonatum species emerges among some violets. This species came from Oliver's nursery during one of their end of spring plant sales. I am not sure of the species but neither were they. It must be one of the many species that have come out of China in recent years. Its modest but a good multiplier.
Trilliums are much beloved by shade gardeners and those that appreciate nature. This mottled leaf species might be lutea but the sessile leaved species are a confusing group to identify down to species level. The fact that they can hybridize only complicates matters but regardless this one has really nice foliage.
Stellaria pubera is a native chickweed species from rich woodlands. I got this one from down south, it is a refined plant unlike its weedy winter annual cousin that is better known to gardeners.
Not so sure why I don't see this everywhere as it is tough. Trachystemon orientalis is a good doer and a very long lived perennial. Is also a lovely shade of blue, a not particularly common flower color. It slowly spreads though I have not noticed any seedlings yet. The leaves will grow larger after the flowers fade and remain for the rest of the growing season.
A special form of the bloodroot, "Tennessee Form", has more petals than the usual 8 that most wild forms have. This plant came from Garden Vision nursery and has done well so far. It does make seeds so I hope more will grow nearby one day.