Spring is the time of year that leaves are beginning to unfurl and bright colored daffodils start to peek out from under the bare branches of bushes and push up from the recently frozen soil. The new splash of green and beautiful flowers serve as reminders that winter is in the past and warm summer weather is on the horizon. In the spring, many gardens are hot spots of early season color. They sport yellow daffodils, red and pink tulips, and purple crocuses. But then again, many gardens remain brown and bare, only to bloom when summer sets in.
If you are an avid gardener looking to add early season color, I have a few age-old remedies for you. Perhaps the most recognizable sign of spring is the tulip. These flowers, a Dutch, specialty are some of the first bloomers and come in a dazzling array of colors from white to purple. Tulips start from bulbs, not seeds, and they must be planted the previous fall to ensure they will bloom in the spring. Another classic flower is the daffodil. They bloom soon after the last frost and sport bright yellow and yellow-white color varieties. Daffodils are also very well acclimated to Northeast Ohio’s climate and have begun to grow wild. While this is not great for biodiversity, it foreshadows their success in your garden. To ensure a productive spring, daffodils must also be planted the previous season in mid to late fall. My third and final recommendation is hyacinth. These are fragrant bright blue and purple flowers that have a droopy, flowing appearance. They add some color variation to spring gardens and bloom for longer than most other early season flowers. As a plus, they are also resistant to deer and other herbivorous animals. Hyacinths must also be planted in the fall, six to eight weeks before the first frost, so early fall is the best bet.
These three flowers are not an exhaustive list of spring color possibilities, only a sample size. Although these three plants are some of the most popular varieties, they may not fit your space or you may want to experiment with native flora. Whatever direction you take, good luck, and I hope your garden space looks like a Van Gogh painting next spring!