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April Showers Bring May Flowers

April Showers Bring May Flowers
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BY STEVE NUBIE

Some flowers can withstand the temperature extremes of April. Others can’t.  Here’s your best Flower list for early spring.   

April and early May is a tricky time of year for flowering plants. We’ve already seen unexpected snowstorms in parts of the country and record lows in temperature.  But some plants are resilient and will not only survive temperature extremes but thrive as the season becomes more temperate.

The big question is perennials versus annuals. Here are some recommendations for Spring planting.   Most are perennials; annuals will need to be replanted as you go.  Annuals tend to pop up fairly quickly, but perennials usually need some time to grow and mature.

Remember to mulch and fertilize your flower beds. There should be good drainage that a little sand can facilitate given the high percentage of rain in the Spring.

There’s also the bulb question. Spring flowers like Daffodils, Tulips and other plants from bulbs are usually planted in the Fall.  You can buy them and plant them from a florist or garden shop if they’ve already bloomed, but we’re going to skip most of these Autumn bulbs while we think about Spring.

  • The Pansy

This is an annual flower that tolerates the chill of early Spring. It’s a great flower for pots or flower boxes, but thrives in the soil of a garden.  It comes in a variety of colors and will grow in sun or partial shade.  The plants are about 10 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

  • Trillium

Grows from April into June. The marbled leaves in summer make this an all-season plant but it really shines with yellow flowers in the spring.  It’s a perennial and thrives in shady soil.   It grows up to 16 inches high and about 12 inches wide.

  • Snowdrop Anemone

This flower not only thrives in the cool days of Spring but can offer a second bloom in the cool days of Autumn. It thrives in shade but survives in full sun.  It grows about 6 inches tall and spreads about 12 inches wide.

  • Redbud

This is a small tree that you can plant at any time of year but Spring is when it finds its glory.   It’s one of the first trees to flower and its purple sprigs illuminate a yard or garden.  It grows well in both sun and shade and grows to 30 feet tall.

  • Crocus

The crocus is the traditional Spring flower. It appears through the snow at times and its purple, pink and white or yellow flowers serve as a quick contrast to the dark of winter and the birth of Spring.  It prefers sunny areas and grows about 6 inches tall and wide.

  • Aconite

One of the earliest Spring bloomers. These flowers will actually emerge from and survive in the snow.  Yellow and white they bloom bright but fall away as Spring emerges into summer.

  • Double RockRose

Ask your florist or local garden store about this one. It blooms late in Spring with a profusion of petals.  It likes full sun and grows a foot tall and about 2 feet wide.

  • Pushikinia

This sounds very Russian but it’s not. It’s a perennial that’s often planted with crocuses and thrives in the spring.  It grows 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide.  It’s been described as one of the best flowers to plant in the Spring.

  • Mock Orange

No, it won’t grow oranges but it’s a highly fragrant perennial that’s easy to grow, very hardy and thrives in the Spring. It’s sometimes referred to as “Miniature Snowflake.” It’s a tall plant growing up to 3 feet tall and wide.

  • Bluestar

This is sometimes referred to as “Arkansas Bluestar.” It’s a tall plant growing 3 to 4 feet in height and shows star-shaped blue flowers in the Spring and the leaves turn a golden yellow in the fall.  It’s a perennial and serves as a great background plant all year-round.

  • Summer Snowflake

The flowers of the Summer Snowflake are bell-shaped and they are best planted in a cluster. They grow tall up to 3 feet and about a foot wide.  Even though they’re called Summer Snowflake, this is a Spring flower that thrives in the chill of early Spring.

  • Oakleaf Hydrangea

This is a monster plant. It grows up to 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide.  It’s a late-Spring bloomer but the leaves and its size offer interest throughout the seasons.  It’s also a perennial so choose where you plant this wisely.

The bottom line

Pay attention to both the size and the color of plants for your Spring gardens. Think about perennials versus annuals as well.  Taller plants should be planted towards the back of a garden decreasing in size towards the front.

Consider color as well. Do you want a mix of colors or a gradual blend of colors?  This is especially important when planting perennials, but annuals always give you the option to mix it up and toss some new color highlights in your Spring garden.

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Steve Nubie
Steve Nubie has been writing professionally for 38 years. He is a published author with 10 books to his credit, has written for CBS Entertainment for the Twilight Zone series, and has written hundreds of articles for magazines and the Internet. He has served as Chief Creative officer in the marketing and advertising industry, was an Executive career-coach, is a chef and has traveled extensively living in Asia for two years, and London for two years.