Early spring plants to banish winter

In February 2018 I have grilled out while wearing shorts and flip flops, and I’ve chiseled ice off the cars at 5:30 am. I’m more than a little bit done with winter. The good news is that spring is right around the corner (though it may be just the other side of a snowstorm), and there are some early blooming plants that can make your winter blahs go away.

Winter Jasmine

Probably the first shrub to start blooming in our area is Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum). If you’re seeing a low-growing shrub with pale yellow flowers this early, it’s probably Winter Jasmine.

Considered a groundcover shrub, it can still grow to 3-4 feet tall and wide. They’re pretty durable, and I like them as a harbinger of spring. If you’ve waxed poetic over the forsythia blooms in northern Virginia in February, odds are you got goopy over Winter Jasmine instead.

Forsythia

If someone asked me to describe forsythia’s growth habit I’d have to go with “exuberant”. It’s a fast grower that flops all over and spreads out easily to anywhere from 6 ft x 6 ft to 9 ft x 9 ft.

The thing with forsythia is that it really does look best when allowed to look natural and wild. One of my neighbors hacks his into rectangles every year. What’s amazing about that is the fact that when the bloom, they look like someone who lives in a pineapple under the sea…

Lenten Rose

When clients tell me something along the lines of “I want an early blooming flower that looks best right next to a path” I steer them towards Lenten Rose (Helleborus spp.). They come in some absolutely stunning colors, and they’re actually sort of subtle.

Subtle’s not generally my thing, but early spring subtle is the calm before the storm of my perennial selections.

Creeping phlox

My old boss didn’t like creeping phlox (Phlox subulata). He felt that it had such a short bloom window, and brought so little to the party when it wasn’t blooming, that it wasn’t worth having. In its defense, I give you Exhibit A:

Is creeping phlox dull as dirt when not in bloom? Yep. Does a carpet of luscious blooms put a smile on your face and pep in your step? So long as your heart isn’t two sizes too small, heck yeah!

If you’re ready to shake off the winter doldrums, you should contact us today and get your landscape planning started, Spring is SO CLOSE!!!

Dave Marciniak is a landscape designer and speaker. He lives in Culpeper, Virginia and can be found via his website and on Twitter.

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