Queens of the winter flowers, Camellias are attractive evergreen shrubs that are highly prized for the beauty of their exquisite blooms, their splendid evergreen foliage and their compact shapely habit. Blooming prodigiously for weeks from fall to spring (depending on climate and variety), when the rest of the garden offers little, Camellias are ranked as one of the very best flowering shrubs
There are 20 different Snowdrop species and several hundreds of hybrids. Yes, several hundreds (!). The craze known as Galanthophilia has swept through the ranks of gardening enthusiasts in the past few years. While all snowdrops look the same to the uninitiated - dainty, nodding white flowers, with a dab of green, held on a thin arching stalk at the end of a thicker stem - they reveal their differences when you take a closer look.
A member of the Lily family, Erythronium (Dog Tooth Violet) are charming bulbous perennials grown for their nodding, lily-shaped flowers adorned with gracefully reflexed petals in spring. Equally attractive is their foliage of elliptic leaves, often copiously marbled with purple-bronze.
There are 17 Hellebore species. Most are native to the mountainous regions of Europe, especially the Balkan region of the former Yugoslavia, south along the eastern Adriatic to Greece and Turkey. Many of the species have been interbred, producing countless hybrid Hellebores in a rich array of colors and forms.
One of the most beloved of the spring woodland wildflowers, Trilliums (Wake Robin) are remarkable rhizomatous perennials with unbranched stems, noted for the perfect symmetry of their leaves, petals and sepals which all come in groups of three, hence the genus name. Their blooms can be either showy or discrete, their foliage handsomely mottled. Jewels of the shade garden, they are fully hardy and will blossom and blend beautifully with other woodland plants.
Camellia japonica is the predominant species of the genus and counts over 30 000 cultivars in a wide array of flower forms and colors. Its shapely habit, handsome, glossy foliage and fabulous flowers have attracted gardeners for hundreds of years in Japan, China and Korea.
Camellia x williamsii are the first camellia hybrids. Generally blooming after the Japanese camellias, they result from the cross of Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis. Among the most cold-hardy camellias (inherited from the japonica parent), most of them are extremely vigorous, free-blooming, with attractive, semi-glossy, leathery leaves.
Easy to grow, low care and incredibly good-looking, Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) is a great bulbous perennial to have! Each bulb produces attractive, nodding, bell-shaped flowers hanging from sturdy, round flower stalks, atop clumps of glossy strap-shaped leaves. Blooming heartily from mid to late spring, Spanish Bluebell is a beautiful and reliable addition to the landscape, where it will happily multiply in optimum growing conditions.
Resembling Forget-Me-Nots, Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian Bugloss) are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials with large, ovate or heart-shaped basal leaves and pretty sprays of small bright blue flowers in spring. Although their clouds of bright blue flowers add cool and striking color to the landscape, Brunneras are mostly valued for their beautiful foliage which creates a lush carpet of deep green or variegated leaves.
Immensely popular, Astilbes are fabulous plants for shady, moist conditions. Admired for their graceful, colorful flower plumes rising elegantly above mounds of fern-like foliage which remains attractive all season long, they light up your shade garden for weeks and add a dazzling splash of color in the landscape
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