For me it seems like winter is the longest season of the year. Early spring is sometimes hard for me. I hate the gray, rainy days. The days are so short and it seems that the gray days well outnumber the amount of sunny days. That, and spring is just so close, I can’t wait! Happily we can look to our landscape for a little spring inspiration even during the tumultuous spring weather. Although there are without a doubt many flowering bulbs and beautiful perennials that pop up at the beginning of the season, it’s without a doubt that the spring shrubs steal the show. Early spring flowering shrubs are a great way to bring both bright and seasonal colors to your landscape. There are a great variety of spring blooming shrubs that are valued for their flowers, many of which bloom in March and April. Some even stay evergreen all year-round, and I’m not just talking about your grandmother’s rhododendron!
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) There are a wide number of Witch Hazel
shrubs, but my all time favorite is ‘Diane’. Prized for it’s copper-red flowers, this bold colored Witch Hazel is one of the best blooming red Witch Hazels. These are one of my favorite shrubs, prized for their early blooming flowers and red fall color. Witch Hazels also come with blooms in yellow and orange.
Andromeda (Pieris speciosa) this is a great evergreen shrub that tolerates shade and can start blooming as early as March! This versatile shrub is not only evergreen and
spring blooming, but it is deer resistant as well. It comes in a variety of sizes including a dwarf version for those of you who don’t have a lot of space. The bloom color is most commonly white, but newer varieties have blooms in pink, blush and even red. Some have variegated leaves, adding to winter interest in the landscape.
Japanese Rose (Kerria Japonica). One of my all time faves! This shrub puts on an
incredible display and can bloom for up to 6 weeks. Buttercup-yellow flowers emerge just before leaves and sometimes even re-blooms in the fall. This is a shrub that tolerates some shade, this is a standout in any landscape. Grass-green branches remain bright green throughout the winter and perk up the most drab landscape!
Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum Carlesii) is my second favorite spring shrub right
behind Japanese Kerria. This fragrant shrub transforms 3 times throughout the growing season. Aromatic pink buds give way to white flowers in March or April. These flowers give way to bright red berries toward the end of the summer and then those berries mature to a dark hue for the fall (a hit with our feathered friends!). They even have a dwarf for smaller areas (Baby Spice Viburnum).
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub that
displays blooms in March or April on bare branches before leafing out. As much as I like traditional shrubs for native gardens and pollinators, the traditional Flowering Quince has some long, nasty thorns. Not for the faint of heart. Thanks to breeders at Proven Winners, there are thornless choices for those of you who prefer not to draw blood when pruning.
Spike Winterhazel (Corylopsis spicata) is another one of my favorites! This is one of the first to bloom in my garden. Primrose-yellow flowers appear in short chains along
the bare stems of this shrub. Sweetly-scented these yellow flowers put on quite the show. Blue-green leaves have a pleasing texture and become a lovely straw-yellow in the fall. If you long for spring like I do, this shrub gives promise for spring early in the season.
All images courtesy of Monrovia