Our lawns are greening-up, daffodils are lifting their nodding heads, crocuses are attracting pollinators and the garden is again luring us outdoors to revel in its annual resurrection. Accelerating day by day, the flowers in our gardens are now exuberantly responding to milder temperatures, displaying their “spring-wake-up” charms of yellow, pink and purple, serenaded by the welcome woodland chorus of spring peepers. Thus begins the fulfillment of nature’s plan we New Englanders yearn for all winter long!
Several additional woody plants are just opening their buds. The earliest magnolias including star (Magnolia stellata and its cultivars) and “Loebner” magnolia cultivars ‘Centennial’ and ‘Leonard Messel’ (a Cary Award winner) are showing color.
Forsythia’s yellow flowers can be considered ubiquitous, but now with a plethora of recent cultivars (look for the Show Off® series), these reliable shrubs are more manageable in size and stature than those rangy shrubs our grandparents planted years ago.
Another familiar plant, Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica and its hybrids), is now opening its lily-of-the-valley-like flowers. Recent cultivar selections offer a wider choice of fragrant white to pink flowers.
Newer cultivars also come in a broad range of growth-habit and foliage features, making them well-suited for most any garden, sun or shade. And they’re also one of the most deer-browse-resistant of any woody plant.
All these early-season-blooming choices are truly reliable indicators that winter has finally departed and another gardening season has begun–our long-awaited preview for mid-spring’s upcoming “main attraction”, soon to follow!
By R. Wayne Mezitt – firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne Mezitt is a 3rd generation nurseryman, a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist, now chairman of Weston Nurseries of Hopkinton, Chelmsford & Hingham MA, and owner of “Hort-Sense”, a horticultural advisory business. He currently serves in various capacities on several horticulturally-related organizations, including the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley MA, and chairman for the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group (MIPAG).