Guides by Season: Mid Spring Guides
Coveted for their spectacular blooms which come in a wide range of shapes and colors, Azaleas and Rhododendrons are members of the genus Rhododendron, one of the largest genera in the plant world which includes over 900 species and over 20,000 named hybrids. All are fascinating.
Highly popular and very cute, mini and very small hostas are a good choice if space is tight or for containers. They are great candidates for rock gardens, containers and troughs. Some can even be grown in spaces in dry stone walls as long as there is enough moisture.
While shade is important for the protection of the hosta leaves, some sun is necessary to produce great flowers. Many hostas will tolerate more sunlight, provided they receive sufficient moisture at the roots. In general, hostas with blue-green leaves or with white variegation perform best in shaded places. Hostas with green, chartreuse or golden leaves will tolerate more sun, provided moisture is adequate. These hostas can be planted in full sun because they are less prone to leaf scorch.
Blue being the rarest color in a garden, it is not surprising that hosta with blue leaves have long been prized by gardeners. There is a wide range of blues to choose from: deep blue, glaucous blue, blue-gray, blue-green, gray-green, soft powder blue or intense blue.
Native to southern Europe and western Asia, Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks or Houseleek) is a mat-forming succulent, that produces irresistible, evergreen rosettes of thick, fleshy leaves. Cute but tough, their beauty resides largely in their infinite variations. They are available in a wide range of colors, from light to dark green to brown, pink and purple, either at the tips of the leaves or throughout the whole plant. The leaves may be pointed or rounded, glossy or matte, with a waxy bloom or with downy hairs. Their foliage colors vary with the sun exposure, the seasons and the climate.
A common myth about Camellias is that they are very fussy and difficult to grow. This is not true. Camellias are exceptionally care-free plants if they are given a well-chosen site. Here are some basic rules that need to be followed to enjoy their splendid flowers.
Spectacular and fascinating, Sarracenia (Pitcher Plants) is a genus of carnivorous plants, including 15 species and subspecies found naturally in North America. Most species inhabit very wet peaty bogs or swamps in the southeastern United States. Cultivated by gardeners and carnivorous plant enthusiasts, Sarracenia are easy to grow and make a terrific addition in neutral to acidic bog gardens or water gardens.
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.
Prized by gardeners, Athyrium are mostly deciduous ferns, with feathery, finely divided foliage in a wonderful array of color and forms. The genus includes about 180 species that are suitable to a wide range of garden conditions, including shady borders and woodland gardens, alongside other ferns or shade-loving plants.
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.
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.
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