Guides by Season: Spring Guides
Native to South Africa, Zantedeschia lilies have become popular garden or household plants. Mainly grown for their magnificent, chalice-shaped flowers (spathe) surrounding a yellow finger-like stalk (spadix), and their arrow-shaped, spotted leaves, they are not true lilies, but are arum (Jack-in-the-pulpit) family members. Whether used in borders, containers or as cut flowers, they always provide a spectacular effect with their rich, cheerful colors.
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.
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.
Create a garden that commands attention throughout the year by selecting trees that excite interest month after month and provide a ravishing show throughout all four seasons.
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.
Strawberry picking evokes childhood memories of seeking out bright red strawberries hidden in mounds of fresh, green leaves, ready to be plucked and enjoyed. Who can resist a strawberry? There are numerous strawberry varieties available and finding the right one for your garden may be daunting.
Prized for its delightful fragrance, Syringa vulgaris (Common Lilac) is a mainstay of the spring landscape in northern and colder climates. Easy to grow, tough as nails, deer resistant and relatively free from major pests, Common Lilacs are one of the most effective flowering shrubs. Tailored to meet the needs of all gardens, this species counts 2000 cultivars.
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.
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.
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