Freezing winds and snow flurries one day, sunny skies with balmy 60-degree temperatures the next. The unpredictability of spring weather is hard on growing plants. Bulbs are one of the few flowers hardy enough to survive Mother Nature’s mercurial spring temperament. Daffodils (Narcissus) and Tulips grow and sprout on warm days, sending tender green shoots poking through the ground. When a blast of cold or late snow freezes the garden, bulbs hold steady and wait it out until the next burst of warmth starts them growing again.
Most flowering plants, however, can’t handle the radical temperature changes common in the spring. Gardeners must wait patiently for the dependable warmth that arrives in mid-May before planting petunias, marigolds, impatiens and the other popular bedding plants that paint summer gardens with such a beautiful array of colors and textures. But summer is still two months away and many gardeners are already itching to feel the dirt between their finders. Fortunately, several hardy, spring-flowering plants are already beginning to arrive at local garden centers.
Bright, cheerful Pansies (Viola Wittrockiana), delicate Violas and old-fashioned Primroses are popular early spring favorites and among the first flowers to arrive at garden centers. While all of these plants prefer cooler temperatures, they should be planted only after threat of frost has passed as their fragile petals are susceptible to extreme cold. Easy to grow in virtually any location, they thrive in sun and partial shade. In spring, they make a delightful display under trees that have yet to leaf, their still-barren branches allowing adequate amounts of sunshine to reach garden beds that will be well-shaded in summer. Because of their large, vibrantly-dolored petals, pansies also make attractive and colorful spring container displays.
Photo by: cygnus921