Yes, spring has arrived in full fashion, swinging from freezing snowfalls to sunny and 70 in the same week. As you drive around town and walk the neighborhood, what catches your eye? We are excited to be outside, filling up our shelves with annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees in all shapes, sizes and colors. Look around town, spot your favorites, then stop in and see what’s new and noteworthy.
Scilla in bloom at our Aurora location
From the ground up, one of the first signs of spring are bulbs that bloom early, including Scilla, Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinths, Snowdrops, Grape Hyacinths, and Winter Aconite. The Growing Place will have bulbs available in the fall to plant for next spring’s bulb show. Many bulbs and perennials are breaking through the soil in our Learning Gardens in both Naperville and Aurora. Walk our gardens and make a note of your favorites so you can add them to your gardens.
Helleborus, Bergenia ‘Spring Fling’ and Brunnera macrophylla
Come and see how the Hellebores looks as it returns each year. Bergenia ‘Spring Fling’ is new for 2019 with magenta-pink blooms towering above large green leaves. If you have ornamental grasses in your landscape, consider cutting them into smaller stems and using as a layer of organic mix in your beds.
Containers become curb appeal once again with the many colors of spring annuals. From citrus to lilac in pansies and violas to the sunset colors of Nemesia, there are more options to pair with forced branches and spilling vines than one might think available for early spring containers.
Violas, Pansies, Nemesia and Alyssum make a colorful arrangement
Forsythia x ‘Happy Centennial’ is blooming yellow right now. This low-spreading shrub has a very graceful horizontal habit. The Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry (Prunus x ‘Snofozam’) is also in bloom. Its fine branches of cascading white blooms add artistic interest to a landscape. New for 2019 is the Prunus ‘First Blush’, with ruffled double pink flowers and disease resistant leaves. Magnolias are a low branched tree with fragrant blooms. The ‘Alexandrina’ is new and blooms pink-tinged, white cupped flowers in April and May.
Adding plants to your outdoor space brings birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Birds will use twigs and stems for nesting so go slow on clean up until spring growth is more apparent. Many beneficial insects overwinter in leaf litter. Loosen with a rake for the birds to forage. Keep feeding birds if you already have been over winter. Those migrating need the extra calories. Break out the birdbaths but continue to watch nighttime temperatures. Clean bird feeders, houses, and baths with a 10% bleach solution.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of springtime!