As spring advances, the number of plants coming into bloom increases exponentially. Many gardens around here are primarily spring gardens with azaleas and daffodils for example. I find spring and early summer to be the most floriferous seasons too, but my gardens continue blooming well past first frost. I get bored easily with simple gardens so I need to make sure I have something new happening every day in my gardens during the growing season.
This is an exquisite and well behaved double version of Ranunculus ficaria. The wild sort with single yellow flowers is a merciless invasive thug in our area. While attractive it will carpet the ground to the exclusion of other small plants in areas it has spread into. I have written on this species before and the problem has worsened over the years in areas along the Bronx river for example. I wonder what eats them in their European homeland as surely there must be a natural control in its native range. However there are a number of selections of the species that are far less aggressive and can be grown safely in the garden, this being one of them. The foliage emerges very early during winter and soon after flowering the whole plant disappears from sight, only to reemerge from the tuberous roots the following winter.
The fragrant double Parma violets, in purple and white, come into bloom after I remove the wood chip mulch. They are old varieties from Europe and not common around here. They are said to not be very cold hardy but I find a fairly light cover of wood chips will see them through our winters without issue so far. It does need to be removed as soon as threat of very severe frost is over.
Before April ends the front yard is filled with daffodils I have planted in the former front lawn. They will become large clumps with time just as they have in my school garden. The red tulips that predate us owning the house also come into bloom (and are very perennial so long as we keep the deer off them) and creeping phlox (Phlox subulata and cvs) spreads ever outwards. Later I cut out some of the phlox and planted the pieces elsewhere on a small slope. The magnolia in the background failed to flower a second year in a row, perhaps due to a very cold March, so out it went later in the summer. In general I have been removing common shrubs and trees and replacing them with flowers and.or rarer shrubs. A lot of what I grow likes good sun so most of the property is quite sunny.
I planted the first daffodils in the front yard two falls before this picture and already this one (they were mixed varieties) is clumping up nicely. I get most of my spring bulbs from Scheepers (aka Van Engelen), Brent and Becky's and sometimes from Colorblends or Easy to Grow Bulbs when they run their sales right around Thanksgiving. I get good deals but sometimes I regret it as planting 100 big daffodil bulbs in heavy soil when it is cold outside can be hard on these aging bones. But seeing their cheery flowers in spring makes it worth it. This year I didnt order so many bulbs since the gardens are filling up and daffodils tend to be forever around here. Nothing really eats them aside from the Narcissus fly (which is quite rare, I am not sure if I have ever seen it here) and no mammal bothers them due to their toxicity. They tolerate all kinds of soil and just ask for some decent sun to come back every year in greater quantities. Occasionally I will find a plant with mottled foliage that appears to be virused and those I remove on sight as I dont want virus spreading to other bulbs. But I have removed less than a handful so far.
Paeonia caucausica grown from seed comes into bloom early. It is a brief event but the foliage is kind of nice too and it doesnt flop like the one or two varieties of peony on the property when we got it. I removed most of those, giving the majority of them to a couple of teachers at my school who helped dig them out. I am growing several peony species from seed as well as mixed cultivar seeds from the American Peony Society.
Lunaria "Corfu Blue" is neither blue as the name suggests, nor perennial with suckers as the source I got it from states. Yet it is different than the typical Lunaria annua in that it branches much more and flowers for a longer period of time. It does seed around like more common forms of the species but it is a nice addition to the spring garden and the seed pods can similarly be dried and used in arrangements.
Packera aurea is a really pretty native species when in bloom but its wandering ways forced me to relocate it after blooming to our border with the neighbor with kids. There is a bit of a wild patch there that I try to tame periodically, and one way I do this is to plant stuff that might look good and be able to compete with the weeds on their side of the line. This one would be good as a vigorous ground cover which is splendid in spring when it blooms and decent looking the rest of the year. But those thin stolons do ensure that it gets around, and where they can't reach the seeds can.
Thalictrum (formerly Anemonella) thalictroides is a native species with white single flowers but this double flowered selection called Cameo is much nicer. It is a small plant that blooms for a decent period of time but by late summer the foliage is mostly gone, awaiting another spring to rise from the small tuberous roots.