A few warm days coaxed fuzzy buds on saucer magnolias to crack this week. I'm anticipating the full flower show.
Despite the blizzard raging as I write this, spring's early players are already well into their performances in warmer parts of the region. Witch hazel and snowdrops burst onto wintry scenes last month in Delaware. In this area (2,500 feet above sea level), pussy willows are starting to make their debut.
Showy flowering trees and shrubs will soon steal the seasonal spotlight. In my yard forsythia appears first in early April, followed by pink crabapple blooms.
What are your favorites in the chorus of spring flowering trees and shrubs? I especially like spring performers where blossoms blanket branches before leaves appear:
- Flowering quince — Blossoms typically in orange tones (a true single-season shrub; for small yards choose an alternative with multiseason interest)
- Forsythia — Cheery yellow flowers; looks fabulous paired with evergreens
- Flowering almond — Pink blooms; dwarf types suit small yards
- Korean azalea — Pink blossoms; this is the first azalea to bloom
- Redbud — Reddish-purple blossoms in early spring
- Flowering cherry — Shades of pink; weeping types form flowery fountains
- Flowering dogwood — Native dogwoods open blooms before leaves appear; introduced types unfurl blooms and leaves together, but flowers steal the show
Don’t overlook fragrant spring shrubs such as Korean spice viburnum (excellent for small spaces) and burkwood viburnum. Site these perfumed bloomers near a walkway or door so you can savor the scent.
This year, as the spring show begins, check out the floral starlets in your neighborhood. Or visit a local arboretum. If you have room in your yard, add some spring bloomers. You can plant as soon as soil is workable.
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