After weeks of delay due to freezing temps and rain, I finally was able to get out and garden on Saturday. I even planted a little container garden of nasturtium and calendula for Mom's condo balcony. Spring at last! Please visit Floridata often, tell your friends about us and be good and grow. Jack
Bear's breeches (Acanthus mollis) produces large flower stalks in spring but it is more famous for its large leaves. Acanthus foliage is reproduced in the ornamentation of classical Greek artwork and in the capitals of Corinthian order columns. Some of these shade loving species have showy flowers but these are nice to grow just for the attractive foliage:
Pink-flowered bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) are more common, but this white form is also readily available at garden centers. The handsome foliage is a bonus. Click to download a large version (800x600).
The red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is a delightful little tree (or large shrub) that is native to the southeastern United States. They bloom in spring, taking over the show as the azaleas and dogwood flowers are fading. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this native (to the southeastern USA) beauty and visit the Red Buckeye Profile to see others.
The red horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea) is a very showy spring bloomer and popular ornamental tree. Red horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea) is a hybrid species resulting from a (presumed) chance cross between the shrubby red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) from SE North America, and common horsechestnut (A. hippocastanum), a much larger tree from Europe. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this flamboyant flower and read more in the Red Horsechestnut Profile.
Here are some other spring-blooming shrubs that are natives of the SE United States:
The opium or bread poppies (Papaver somniferum) bloom at this time of year. The opium poppy is an annual that must reseed itself each season so the ground must remain exposed and not mulched over. If you don't smother the seeds and the poppies will return year after year! Click to download a large version (800x600) of the pretty purple poppy to display on your computer desktop.
I spied my first bunch of grape hyacinths grape hyacinths blooming on the first day of spring and, despite the cold snap, even a couple of early tulips were blooming already. Read Ray's articles about The Daffodils and history of The Tulips then check out Floridata's profiles of these and other spring-blooming bulbs:
The Hawaiian Islands are home to an array of native plant species that has attracted the attention of botanists, naturalists, horticulturists and world travelers ever since Europeans first visited the islands near the end of the 18th century. Read more »
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Great white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) is a spring blooming perennial wildflower that is native to the forests of eastern North American. Composed of three whorled leaves, three white petals and three sepals, this wildflower is beloved for its simple, elegant beauty. Read more about this superstar of springtime wildflowers for woodland gardens and other shady spaces in USDA Zones 4-8. Here's a list of a few other woodland wildflowers to look for at this time of year:
Native cross vine (Bignonia capreolata) grows all over my North Florida neighborhood. They bloom in April, the vines becoming garlands of bright blossoms draped over, up and through the pines and baldcypress trees around my pond. This vine and nearby trumpet creeper vines (Campsis radicans) are two of the main reasons that my place is a favorite hummingbird hangout. Here are links to some of my favorite spring-flowering vine profiles:
Hummingbirds are fast and furious adding action and drama to the garden. They are my favorite birds and are hugely entertaining when observed from the comfort of a lawn-chair with a cool refreshment in hand. The trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is one of the best plants for attracting hummers. It is a large aggressive vine and not recommended for small spaces but the hummingbirds love it because it blooms throughout the summer. Here are some links to a few more species that can help transform your garden into a home for hummers:
Cardinal flower's (Lobelia cardinalis) blossoms are designed for easy (hummingbird) access!
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