Guides by Season: Mid 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.
Bletilla are deciduous terrestrial perennial orchids boasting attractive pleated, linear to lance-shaped leaves, and erect racemes of bell-shaped flowers in spring and summer. The delicate flowers vary in color from white to purple to yellow. Bletilla striata (Chinese Ground Orchid), Bletilla formosana Taiwan Ground Orchid), Bletilla ochracea (Chinese Butterfly Orchid) are 3 popular hardy species of orchids grown by gardeners in temperate climate areas. They grow from pseudobulbs that usually sit at ground level. A well established clump of these in flower is quite beautiful and rewarding.
Lady’s slipper orchids are among the most desired of all hardy orchids. Often colorful and striking, these rhizomatous perennials have a distinctive inflated pouch or modified lip (labellum) that resembles a slipper or shoe. The slipper can be as large as a chicken egg or quite small depending on the species. Cypripedium is a genus of terrestrial orchids in the Orchidaceae family. It includes about 50 species, most of them quite hardy, which can be found in America, Europe, and Asia.
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.
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.
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.
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry) is a compact, woody shrub with arching, slender, zig-zag branches bearing a single, sharp spine at each node below each rosette of leaves. The wedge-shaped leaves are untoothed, slightly blue-green to green to dark reddish purple, and borne in whorls or clusters. Some Japanese Barberry cultivars are spectacular additions to the landscape where they bring a strong color accent from spring to fall.
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