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Seasonal Plant Syncing

solomon seal and yellow baptisiaMid -spring is the time for a flush of new seasonal growth for plants. For landscape professionals, the calls have started. The retail stores are in full-blown spring fever frenzy, selling anything that is blooming. The awareness of the plant activity around us intensifies the experience of energetic creation within us.

Intense foliage and flower color can be achieved with the right choice of plants. If you want a garden-tour-worthy display in mid-spring, search for deep, dark green leaves mingling with light, bright blooms and foliage. Dark green foliage is a perfect backdrop for spring combinations.

Evergreens, like Cephalotaxus harringtonia prostrata are sending out interesting chartreuse shoots of fresh foliage at the tips of emerald stems, strengthening the contrast of new and old growth. The fresh, tender growth of all the plants is fun to touch. It’s adds a softness to the landscape. The intense green is echoed by the low ground cover, Evergreen Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), a reliable mid-spring stand-out. Instead of chartreuse, Evergreen Candytuft brightens the garden with pure, creamy-white buttons of bloom, almost covering the plant.

Some plants glow with colored foliage in spring. The conifers with unique foliage colors and foliage variegation are most intense with reds, blue-greens, and yellows in mid-spring, with an encore performance in late fall. Their color is brightest at the seasonal moment when the weather warms, but isn’t quite hot enough to encourage mosquitoes. The same green winter foliage of Thuja occidentalis ‘Sunkist’ is suddenly tinged with orange and chartreuse in mid-spring, almost as if someone turned on an internal light switch. The little, native Chrysogonum virginianum can provide lower edging for them and will have a few, sporadic yellow blooms. Paired with Iris germanica ‘Carolina Gold’ and Baptisia sphaerocarpa, the repeating, warm yellows really pop.

Hostas are just now poking out of the ground with new growth. White variegation is at its whitest now. The Solomon Seal, Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’, and the ‘Silver Dragon’ Liriope spicata light the landscape at night. They look lovely next to white-blooming Azaleas and Dogwood trees.

Herbs tend to send out blooms more in mid-spring than any other time/thyme. Salvia officinalis, Rosemary officianalis, and Thymus vulgaris are producing edible blooms. Artemesia, even without any blooms, is providing vibrant green, grey, and white color to the garden. Herbs come to life in mid-spring, and waiting until this time to transplant and prune them is a smart cultural practice.

Amsonia tabernaemontana, Salvia guaranitica, and Phlox divaricata quietly furnish the most amazing blues at this time of year! Juxtaposed with garden whites and yellows, their whispering colors generate well-deserved attention.

Aquilegia canadensis, Knockout Roses, Rhododendron hybrids, and Dianthus cultivars add loud pinks and reds to the mid-spring garden chorus of color. The new foliage of Acer palmatum cultivars contribute intense maroon-reds that contrast nicely with all the other combinations on the color wheel. Spring has sprung! What combinations do you like best this time of year? 

Mid-Spring Celebrities