Guides by Season: Late Spring Guides
As climbers, Clematis are unsurpassed in their long flowering presence, their rich diversity of flower shapes, their wide array of colors and tolerances in terms of exposure and climate. Members of the Ranunculaceae family, Clematis include more than 300 species and hundreds of hybrids. They are divided into 12 groups.
From fall into winter, crabapples put on a terrific display of colorful fruit in a wide array of color, including pale lime, chartreuse with yellow highlights, various shades of gold often rouged with pink, orange or bright red cheeks, bright orange, crimson, carmine, burgundy or even bishop's purple. If persistent, their color parade can be enjoyed for months unless hungry birds feast on them.
The Large Flowering Amaryllis group is the most popular group with single flowers up to 8-10 in (20-25 cm). Their cultivars belong to the Galaxy group. Each bulb usually produces 2-3 stems and 4-6 flowers per stem. These exquisite Amaryllis tend to grow up to 18-24 in. tall (45-60 cm). Depending on temperature, they bloom 6-10 weeks after planting.
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.
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.
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.
Their flowers are incredibly large, 6-10 in. across (15-25 cm). Star-shaped, they may be single, semi-double or double and are available in a wide range of colors. They usually bloom in two waves. They bloom in late spring or early summer on the previous year's growth. They often repeat blooming in late summer and early fall on new wood.
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.
More and more popular, the Cybister Amaryllis are truly spectacular with their exotic, orchid-like flowers. They feature long, ribbon-like, spidery petals and splashes of bright color such as deep reds, soft green, copper, dark pink, creamy white and burgundy. They are unlike any other Amaryllis group and their cultivars belong to the Spider group.
Most gardeners are unaware of the wide range of characteristics offered by Malus species and their cultivars in terms of flower color, fragrance, fruit color, fruit retention, fall foliage, tree shape, and disease resistance. These are key elements to consider when selecting a flowering crabapple. Consequently, you should not eliminate varieties merely by flower color alone, or you may end up with a less than optimum tree with limited interest.
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?
The tall Alliums in particular are very impressive when towering up above lower-growing plants or ground covers. They are definitely displayed at their loveliest when placed among perennial plants in the border. Their leaves, which are usually not very attractive and which also wither back quickly after flowering, will then be hidden beneath the leaves of the perennial plants.
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
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