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Garden Planning: Early Spring Blooms

by Amanda

Solomon Seal's soft white blooms are followed by indigo blue berries in the fall.

Lily of the Valley's soft white blooms are followed by red/orange berries in the summer and fall.

With spring in full swing throughout the country, gardeners everywhere are enjoying spectacular color from Daffodils, Crocus and other spring-blooming varieties. These early-blooming plants can often be the most important in the garden; they provide much-needed color after the winter season and kick off the show of blooms to follow.

We like to focus on each season of the garden, making sure there are plenty of varieties in bloom at all times from spring until fall. See something you love blooming this spring? It’s best to jot it down and order it to plant now (if possible); even though you may not get blooms in the first season, next year you’ll be thanking yourself when your spring garden is more colorful than ever.

Early-Blooming Perennials

  • Solomon's Seal Variegatum. This Woodland beauty boasts light green leaves with clusters of creamy white bells, followed by indigo blue berries in the fall.
  • Foam Flower. Foam Flower’s white, feathery plumes create a mystical look in the spring garden. This interesting plant is deer resistant and will thrive in full sun to partial shade.
  • Dianthus Burgundy Bush.  Attractive to butterflies in the garden Burgundy Blush Dianthus lures with hot pink blooms. Its fragrant and makes for an excellent border and ground cover.
  • Lily of the Valley Rosea. This petite flower has a wonderful fragrance and makes for an excellent cut flower.
  • Jack in the Pulpit. Green blooms evolve to produce brilliantly-red berries. A truly stunning, unique plant for the shade garden. 
  • Coral Bells Berry Smoothie. Small, pink flowers bloom for weeks and its round foliage adds great texture and color to full shade or partial shade gardens. Use as a border containers or for ground cover.
  • Weigela White Lightening. This elegant, easy-to-grow shrub boasts variegated foliage of green, edged in creamy yellow and pink buds that open as pure white.
  • Tree Peony Dark Pink. This peony’s large, dark pink blossoms are stunning and can be up to 8” wide. A must have for any perennial garden! 
  • Larkspur/Wild Delphinium. A shorter variety, its gorgeous, deep purple blooms are uniquely-shaped and will make a stunning statement in the garden.

Hepatica is one of spring's earliest woodland wildflowers.

Hepatica is one of spring's earliest woodland wildflowers.

  • Bearded Iris Best Bet.  This deer-resistant Iris often produces two to three stems per plant early in the bloom season. 
  • Bloodroot. Bloodroot’s unique, cigar-shaped rolled up leaves eventually open up into large, water lily-like foliage that bear pristinely-white flowers, illuminating the garden floor.
  • Forsythia Kumson.  This Forsythia offers three seasons of color and texture.
  • Hepatica. One of spring’s earliest woodland wildflowers, and always considered one of the most beautiful, Hepatica is quite common in eastern woodlands.
  • Alyssum Golden Spring. This deer-resistant variety illuminates the garden with cheerful, bright-yellow blooms.
  • White Trillium. Always a favorite, this Great White or Snow Trillium opens exquisite white blooms up to 5" across in mid-spring.
  • Bleeding Heart Red Fountain. This deer-resistant beauty is known for its long bloom time, often flowering from spring into the early summer.
  • Creeping Phlox Purple Beauty. Purple Beauty is a true gem in the spring garden with gorgeous, bright purple blooms that are sweetly fragrant

California Poppies and Arroyo Lupine blooming in California in March.

California Poppies and Arroyo Lupine blooming in California in March.

Early-Blooming Wildflowers

  • Globe Gilia.  Also called Thimble Flower, this western native tolerates almost any soil, and some shade. 
  • California Poppies. No meadow is complete without these iconic orange blooms that last from spring all the way into the summer, often re-blooming in the fall.
  • Wild Ginger. Wild Ginger’s large heart-shaped leaves create a low, solid, dark green carpet on the forest floor. 
  • Golden Alexanders. This native wildflower is extremely easy to grow and delights in the early spring with clusters of cheerful yellow flowers on glossy foliage.
  • Marsh Marigold. This cheerful, unique flower thrives in extremely moist climates and is often found in swampy areas or along stream banks in the wild.
  • Arroyo Lupine. This is the famous wild lupine that carpets whole hillsides along the Pacific coast; grows well in any region.

Crocus flower bulbs signal spring and delight in almost any spot.

Crocus flower bulbs signal spring and delight in almost any spot.

Early-Blooming Bulbs

Daffodils, Crocus, Tulips and more are often the key color-makers in the spring landscape. These spring-blooming bulbs must be planted in the fall and experience a wintering-over period for the spring. Learn more about the life cycle of Fall-Planted Bulbs in our blog.

  • Crocus. Crocus blooms are often the first to show up in the spring, delighting the gardener with bright flowers almost anywhere.
  • Daffodils. Perennial, Deer Resistant, Easy to Grow, and magnificently beautiful — what more can you ask for?
  • Grape Hyacinths. These spring-bloomers are perennials and deer resistant! 
  • Tulips. From jewel-toned miniatures to the dazzle of huge lush doubles, no flower group puts on quite the same show as tulips.

Whether you’re gardening in a city or have acres to play with, much of the joy of planning your landscape is putting the pieces together to make sure you enjoy color all season long, starting with show-stopping blooms in the early spring. Happy Gardening!