Guides: Prairie and Meadow
Mostly native to the U.S. and Canada, Asclepias include over 100 species of evergreen or deciduous perennials adorned with clusters of small, interestingly shaped blooms that are irresistible to butterflies. Attractive and easy to grow, they shine in many perennial gardens and are a key component of butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, or prairies and meadows.
Dactylorhiza (Marsh Orchids) are deciduous terrestrial orchids boasting lance-shaped leaves, sometimes spotted with burgundy, and showy terminal spikes crowded with purple, pink or white flowers in spring and summer. Because of their spectacular colorful inflorescences and their relative ease of cultivation, Marsh Orchids are the most widely grown European orchids. Marsh Orchids are very cold-hardy and do not require any special protection in winter. They can be grown outside in zones 5 through 8, depending on species.
Winters may be long and cold, but your garden can allay that dreariness and be transformed into a place of natural beauty with visually arresting textures, colors, fragrance and flowers. To create such a beautiful winter scene, you need to make sure you select the right plants.
Naturalizing bulbs is a terrific way to brighten up lawns, prairies or meadows in spring. They also make gardening easy. Once planted, there is nothing left to do: these bulbs can stay right where they are and produce flowers year after year. What could be better?
Many tulips are not strongly perennial and their floral display tends to decline from season to season. They bloom well the first year, but then peter out after a couple of years. But if you select the right tulip varieties, plant them in the right spot and provide the proper care, you can be rewarded with a magnificent spring display year after year.
There are 17 Hellebore species. Most are native to the mountainous regions of Europe, especially the Balkan region of the former Yugoslavia, south along the eastern Adriatic to Greece and Turkey. Many of the species have been interbred, producing countless hybrid Hellebores in a rich array of colors and forms.
There are 20 different Snowdrop species and several hundreds of hybrids. Yes, several hundreds (!). The craze known as Galanthophilia has swept through the ranks of gardening enthusiasts in the past few years. While all snowdrops look the same to the uninitiated - dainty, nodding white flowers, with a dab of green, held on a thin arching stalk at the end of a thicker stem - they reveal their differences when you take a closer look.
Robust and hardy, Ipheion (Spring Starflower) are small bulbous perennials with lovely star-shaped, sweet violet scented flowers borne on long slender scapes in mid to late spring. Blooming for up to 8 weeks, the dainty blossoms rise atop a cushion of narrow, pale, delicate and grass-like leaves. Regarded to be one of the easiest bulbs to grow
Native to North America, Camassias (Camas) are bulbous perennials with long racemes of up to 100 star-shaped flowers, adorned with six slender loose petals, a green center and bright yellow stamens. The flowers vary in color from pale lilac or white to deep purple or blue-violet. Borne on stout, willowy stems, they open sequentially from bottom to top for a long lasting display.
The following daffodils are recipients of both the Award of Garden Merit and the Wister Award, two highly coveted and prestigious awards. These super-daffodils have proven to be vigorous, sturdy and reliably perennial. They include many different flower shapes and bloom seasons. If you plant a few of each variety, you will get weeks and weeks of spring color every year! Some are delightfully fragrant. Grow them close to where you sit in the garden, or along paths to savor their sweet fragrance as you pass by.
Narcissus (Daffodils) are among the easiest bulbs to grow and regarded as some of the most valuable spring bulbs for the South. Long lived, they naturalize and multiply year after year. Versatile, they offer a fascinating array of flower forms, sizes, and colors.
If you look for more than a beautiful drift of creamy or golden flowers, and wish to add another terrific dimension to your spring garden, plant fragrant Narcissus cultivars. While many daffodil bulbs are fragrant, most do not have a perfume powerful enough to enjoy unless you stick your nose directly into the bulb.
One of the most beloved of the spring woodland wildflowers, Trilliums (Wake Robin) are remarkable rhizomatous perennials with unbranched stems, noted for the perfect symmetry of their leaves, petals and sepals which all come in groups of three, hence the genus name. Their blooms can be either showy or discrete, their foliage handsomely mottled. Jewels of the shade garden, they are fully hardy and will blossom and blend beautifully with other woodland plants.
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