[Sorry for the delay in getting this post out. A combination of Atlanta’s schizophrenic weather and my running around like a madman has left me in bed sick with some nasty crud. But without further a do…]
Over the past few weeks, as the seasons are struggling to turn, I’ve finally been able to see and smell the early glimpses of Spring breaking through Atlanta’s unusually wet, cold, grey Winter. Yes…I know, our streets and yards are being heralded by the prolific bursts of color of the many flowering trees. But…personally, I’ve always received these more profound displays with an air of skepticism – like it’s too much, too soon…knowing that just around the corner we will have yet another deep freeze that will catch these trees literally out in the cold. However, when I see and smell the more subtle displays of life creeping back into our days I’m left hopeful for the promises of the days to come. (Okay…I know, I’m laying it on a bit thick here…but stick with me.)
So which flowers are providing me these glimpses of Spring? Well, my three favorite early Spring flowers are…the slap-happy Narcissus, the oddly beautiful Lenten Rose, and the delicious Winter Daphne. Each of them capturing a bit of spring that I long for more of.
We live in a small town, bordering Atlanta…aptly known as “Jonquil City” – with Jonquils popping up all over the place. The Jonquil (Narcissus jonquilla) is a species of Narcissus (daffodil) known for its burst of bright yellow hues (or white) and early entrance into Spring. Some suggest that its species is named after the Greek myth Narcissus…who drowned after he fell into the water while looking into his reflection…obsessed with his beauty. Well I’m obsessed with the Jonquil’s beauty…and am very happy when I see them breaking through my previously dormant ground.
Not your typical beauty, the Lenten Rose is not a rose at all. But this interesting flower is really one of my favorite plants in my landscape. Commonly known as hellebores, Lenten Roses flower in late winter / early spring during the season of Lent. They are actually an herbaceous perennial flower, with evergreen leaves (at least here in Atlanta’s Zone 7 climate). With the muted hues of their flowers and low-lying splayed leaves, I find that they provide visual interest throughout the year. They thrive in the dappled sunlight and moist conditions of a woodlands landscape. An additional bonus is, not only can you divide them into your plant beds, they are self-seeding. So once established, you will find your initial clump of Lenten Roses expanding…and new clumps popping up in other places – thanks to birds’ dropping their seeds here and there. If you haven’t tried Lenten Roses, I’d highly recommend that you do.
Because of its early sweet smell of Spring, Winter Daphne also tops my list of favorite Spring flowers. Although I’m not wild about the look of their flowers (…just personal preference), I am wild about the scent that their flowers give off. Perfect when placed near the entrance of your home, this evergreen shrub will welcome any guest. I’ve often had friends pause at our backdoor trying to figure out where that wonderful fragrance wafting about is coming from. Now be forewarned, because of their not reacting well to root disturbance, Winter Daphne can be difficult to establish at times. But once they are…and when you’ve planted them in well-drained soil and in sun or partial shade, they can really thrive. Again, if you’ve never had a Winter Daphne in your yard, trust me when I say that you will be glad that you did. And by the way, don’t go overboard…you’ll only need one – its smell will be just enough.
Alright, there are my Top 3 Early Spring Flowers. What tops your list? Please share.