Gardens begin to show signs of springtime activity in the month of April, when plants and flowers sprout up everywhere. Gardeners are particularly eager to see early blooming flowers and enjoy the spectacular show they put on in those early days of spring. Their colorful blooms are a sure sign that the drab winter months are behind us and summer is just around the corner.
Lenten Rose (Heleborus orientalis)
An herbaceous perennial that blooms in April, the lenten rose is a low maintenance plant. Plant them in rich, well-drained soil in shady to partially shaded areas. Lenten roses produce flowers of pink, light purple-rose and white. Plants can reach 12 to 18 inches in height and prefer a colder climate. They sometimes bloom in late winter months when snow is on the ground.
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
A native woodland perennial flower, the Virginia bluebell can reach 2 feet in height and blooms in early to mid April. The flowers are trumpet-shaped and pale, soft blue in color; blooming periods last for about 3 weeks. Virginia Bluebells prefer partial sun and like moist, rich soil conditions. They do best in cool to warm climates. The sweet smelling flowers attract bees and hummingbirds.
Crested Iris (Iris cristata)
A low growing, spreading plant, the crested iris makes an appearance in our gardens at the beginning of April. Flowers are mainly blue, white and purple. The crested iris is small, only reaching 6 inches in height and they are is of the few irises that will bloom in shaded areas. These irises prefer sun to partial shade, well drained soil and are happy in all climate conditions. Crested irises have fewer insect and disease problems when compared to other varieties of iris plants.
Leopard's Bane (Doronicum plantagineum)
A hardy perennial that blooms in the early weeks of April, the Leopard's Bane grows to be 2 to 3 feet in height. It produces a bright yellow daisy-like flower and continues to bloom throughout the summer months. Leopard's Bane likes moderate temperatures, rich loam soil conditions and will grow well in either full sun or shaded areas. The long stemmed flowers are excellent for cutting and will last for days when placed in water.
Dutch Hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis)
Dutch hyacinths bloom in the early days of April for 2 to 3 weeks. These perennials produce a white fragrant flower and can be grown indoors in pots and outdoors in rock gardens and flower beds. Outdoor bulbs should be planted in the fall. Plants reach 8 to 12 inches in height. Dutch hyacinths like full sunlight, rich soil and tolerate dry conditions but should be kept moist during their growing season.
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