Isn’t this the most beautiful weather we are having here in Middle Tennessee this week?! The warmer temps and sunnier days are sure signs that spring is on its way. On my way outside this morning, I spotted another sure sign of Spring coming- crocuses that were planted in my garden last fall are beginning to bloom. Crocuses, being one of the first flowers to bloom before Spring is here, are such a lovely, cheerful sight to behold, and I had to take a picture to share with you their joy.
After a long, particularly cold winter like we’ve had here in Middle Tennessee, many of us are eagerly anticipating the early blooms that accompany the ending of winter and beginning of Spring. Until a few years ago, I did not know what many of these beauties were called, only that I loved seeing them in bloom and by the time I decided where I wanted to plant one in my yard and went to my local nursery to pick one up, the blooming season had ended and I was stuck not knowing what it was that I had admired so much a few weeks before. I wanted to share with you some of these early spring blooming beauties so maybe you won’t be in the same situation I was in a few years ago before coming to work at Riverbend.
Here are some early blooming beauties that thrive in our area and are sure to add extra cheerfulness to your yard and extra spring in your step (ha- ha, corny, I know):
Forsythia, also known as golden bells:
This glorious shrub comes in many varieties, but they all have this in common: they are one of the earliest blooming shrubs in our area and they produce beautiful, long, graceful stems of sweet yellow flowers. Last spring I clipped small branches from my flowering forsythia and placed them in a vase on my kitchen table. It was wonderful to come into the kitchen and see a bright little ray of sunshine in that vase!
Forsythia loves to be planted in sunshine! They are hardy shrubs that require little maintenance. Some varieties of forsythia can grow large (unless you pick up a type such as ‘Gold Tide,’ which is a groundcover forsythia that gets to be about 2 feet tall and 5 feet wide), but all types can be easily pruned. I will give tips on pruning Forsythia and some other shrubs in my next blog!
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles species):
Another early springtime bloomer, Flowering Quince produces show stopping blooms of red, pink, white, or orange (depending on variety). Like Forsythia, they love sunshine and do best with 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Their gorgeous blooms last typically up to two weeks; by cutting flowering stems and bringing them indoors, you enjoy the bloom period even more. Sizes vary with each variety, from smaller ones reaching 3 feet high by 3 feet wide at maturity, up to 10 feet high and wide at maturity. Simple pruning can be done once a year to keep Flowering Quince at the appropriate size for your yard.
Yoshino and Kwanzan Cherry Trees:
About a month before dogwoods and redbuds are beginning to bloom, Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees begin to bloom in our area, lighting up landscapes all around Middle Tennessee with beautiful clusters of delicate pink to light pink blooms (Kwanzan is known for its brighter pink blooms, whereas Yoshino cherry trees boast the light pink/ almost white buds). As far as early spring blooming trees,you just cannot beat flowering cherry trees. Their name can be confusing, as they are not actual fruit producing cherry trees. These trees enjoy full sun, and at maturity, they are not huge (15-25 feet height and spread), so they can make for a great ornamental tree in your garden.
These are some of the earliest spring blooming shrubs and trees that thrive in our area and all are found at Riverbend Nurseries. You will surely begin to recognize these bloomers out and about here in the next few weeks when they begin to put on their show! I would love to hear from you, what are some of your favorite early spring flowering plants? Next blog I am going to talk about pruning early spring blooming shrubs to keep them looking their best and also other pruning tips for this time of the year! Come join me!