Spring is one of the best times to start gardening. The soil and air temperatures are beginning to warm up after a winter of cool temperatures. The natural rainfall is still abundant and promotes growth in newly planted seedlings. The growing season is just starting and rapid growth is triggered in most plants. Nearly all flowers, bulbs and ornamental plants do well when planted after the last spring fall. Either grow your plant starts indoors before the last spring frost or purchase your starts from a local garden store.
European Wild Ginger
European wild ginger (Asarum europaeum) is an evergreen groundcover that thrives in the shade. The glossy, leathery leaves produce a strong fragrance when you walk on them. Purplish-brown flowers grow 5 to 7 inches tall and bloom in the late spring. Place the European wild ginger seedlings 8 to 12 inches apart. Water European wild ginger when the weather turns dry for the summer.
Gladiolus (Gladiolus x hortulanus) produce blossoms in nearly every color hue except true blue. Many flowers are splashed with contrasting colors. The foliage is tall flat fans of sword-shaped leaves that spread 6 to 12 inches wide. The flower stalks grow to the height of 2 to 5 feet. Place the gladiolus bulbs 6 inches apart in moist soil after the last spring frost date.
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is an ornamental grass that is commonly grown for erosion control on dry slopes. This warm-season perennial grass grows to 12 inches tall and spreads out 12 inches wide. Flowering stems reach 36 inches tall by the middle of summer. Little bluestem stays green all summer long, but changes to bright shades of copper and orange during the cool fall weather. Plant little bluestem seedlings 24 inches apart in any area that does not collect moisture.
Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is one of the showiest ornamental grasses. If planted in fertile soil and full sun, it grows 5 to 12 feet tall and spreads in 12 foot clumps. Flower stems shoot up 8 to 15 feet tall and support 1 to 3 foot feathery flower plumes of white or pink. The flower plumes are often dried to use in house decorations. Plant pampas grass 5 to 8 feet apart in areas where they will not be overcrowded.
Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) is a groundcover that grows in thick mats of woolly gray leaves. This plant grows 6 to 10 inches and spreads more than 36 inches wide. This fast-growing evergreen blooms with white star-shaped flowers in late spring. Plant snow-in-summer seedlings 12 to 18 inches apart in a spot where it can spread. This groundcover is invasive in areas with favorable growing conditions.