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Northeast Gardening: Relish the Colors of the Spring Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

In spring the world turns joyful as bulbs burst out of the ground and shrubs and trees explode in colorful blooms.

Spring leaves

In spring the world turns joyful as crocuses lift out of the earth and Technicolor replaces the gray and white of winter. But bulbs are only part of the reason and the season. Mother Nature also shows off with spring-blooming trees and shrubs.

In my yard witch hazel glowing against a bleak February sky is as much a harbinger of spring as the early daffodils popping up through melting snow. And soon the season is upon us, and my husband and I wait for the pink glory of the Japanese cherry tree that has carpeted the patio with falling blossoms every May since we moved into our house shortly after we married 20 years ago. We plant pink and white tulips beneath it and feel like we're living in a fairy tale.

I love the star magnolia that shades the jack-in-the-pulpits in my front yard--its scented white flowers provide a celestial effect.

And the purplish-white lilac bushes, a.k.a. Syringa vulgaris, that perfume our driveway are time machines, taking me back to childhood, and the grandmother who sang to me to sleep in Hungarian.

My grandmother always stopped to smell the lilacs and cut bouquets for the house. So do I. And when my overgrown lilac lost its flower power, I gave it new life by cutting out a third of the oldest stems each winter for three years.

I also treasure my Kousa dogwood, a vase-shaped beauty that's resistant to a multitude of pests and diseases, and sparkles with creamy bracts in late spring and red berries in autumn. There's the winter jasmine that doesn't smell like jasmine and blooms on the cusp of spring in my garden. When its yellow flowers fade, the buttercup blooms of Japanese kerria keep sprinkling sunshine. And I can't imagine spring without my Pieris japonica and its bronzy-red new foliage and cascades of creamy, bell-shape flowers.

Incidentally, this evergreen has fibrous roots and can be easily transplanted at any size.

But for now I put my faith in the witch hazel and wait for Technicolor time and the scent of the lilacs.

What are you looking forward to this spring?