Guides by Season: Early Spring Guides
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.
Mostly native to Mexico, Central America and South America, Phragmipedium (Slipper Orchids) is a genus of about 25 species of terrestrial or epiphytic orchids found growing along stream banks of shady mountain slopes at elevations between 7,200-13,000 ft. (2200-3900 m). Easy to grow in the home, as long as you follow an appropriate care routine, Phragmipedium orchids make beautiful plants in the home or greenhouse.
In cultivation for hundreds of years, Phaius is a genus of about 50 species of large, warm-growing, terrestrial orchids found in a huge natural range including Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands. Easy to grow in the home, as long as you follow an appropriate care routine, these orchids are spectacular plants and make gorgeous houseplants.
Becoming very popular in cultivation, Zygopetalum is a genus of about 16 species of terrestrial or epiphytic orchids found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Peru. Easy to grow in the home, as long as you follow an appropriate care routine, these cool to moderate growing orchids make ravishing houseplants.
Native to Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, Miltoniopsis (Pansy Orchids) is a genus of 5 species and over 2000 hybrids of epiphytic or lithophytic orchids found growing in rain forests and cloud forests at elevations between 1,650-6,500 ft. (500-2,000 m). Resembling garden pansies, smelling like roses and reblooming quickly, these beautiful orchids are enjoying increasing popularity. These orchids are not hard to grow, but when new growth begins, they need adequate care and you must make sure to give them enough water.
Native to Mexico, Central and South America, Masdevallia (Flag Orchids) is a genus of 500 species of epiphytic, lithophytic or terrestrial orchids found growing in cloud forest at high elevations. These miniature to medium sized orchids are attractive because of their compact growth habit and profuse blooms.
Native to western South America, Odontoglossum (Butterfly Orchids) is a genus of 70 species of medium to large epiphytic or lithophytic orchids found at high elevations, where cool temperatures prevail year round. Known for their striking sprays of flowers, these orchids produce clusters of large, usually brilliantly colored flowers that last for weeks.
Ranging from North Carolina to South America, Reed-Stem Epidendrums (Reed Orchids) are one of the easiest orchids to grow. With their long-lasting and brilliantly colored flowers, vigorous growth and forgiving nature, Reed Orchids are ideal for the novice grower.
Naturalizing bulbs is a terrific way to brighten up lawns. A surprisingly large number of perennial bulbs do well in grass, such as snowdrops (Galanthus), crocuses (Crocus), squills (Scilla), checkered lilies (Fritillaria meleagris) and plenty others charming bulbs. Left undisturbed in the ground, they will emerge again every spring, but will also gently multiply as long as they receive the right light conditions and are planted in soil with the proper drainage.
Lifting our spirits with their bright colors in the first months of the year, Primulas, also known as Primroses, belong to a huge genus of more than 430 species. Hardy, these cheerful perennials provide a wide range of sizes, shapes and come in almost every color imaginable. They range from tiny rock garden plants to statuesque candelabras.
Adored by florists and gardeners, Ranunculus asiaticus (Persian Buttercups) is a tuberous-rooted plant boasting brilliantly colored flowers adorned with multiple layers of delicate, crepe paper-thin petals. Native to Asia Minor, they produce masses of very long-lasting, single, double or frilled blossoms in a rainbow of gorgeous colors.
An essential component of many bouquets thanks to their long vase life (over 3 weeks), Freesias are striking beauties that also deserve a spot outdoors. Visually stunning with their abundant clusters of brightly colored flowers on gently arching stalks, they are also intensely fragrant. Native to South Africa, these tender cormous perennials, often grown as annuals, require minimal maintenance, are virtually disease-free and pest-free, deer and rabbit resistant, and will multiply to form generous clumps over time - provided some basic rules are respected.
While all Japanese Maples are beautiful and provide a fabulous architectural presence, in the garden or in containers, some feature particularly outstanding features such as dramatic foliage, long-lasting striking leaf color, unusual leaf shape or striking winter bark. The eye can never pass lightly over the dazzling color presented by their flaming foliage across seasons or the graceful outlines of their brilliant coral twigs and branches.
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