What’s in Bloom? – April 2020

Even though most of the trees are still bare and must of us awoke to snow on the ground this weekend, spring has arrived and with it are some of the most beautiful blooms of the year.

Spring Flowering Bulbs

Pink and purple hyacinth flowers
Hyacinthus orientalis
Clump of white daffodils with bright orange centers and yellow daffodils
Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)

The crocuses have all but faded, but the daffodils continue to bloom, brightening up the drab landscape with their cheery yellows and oranges.   They have recently been joined by the hyacinths.  With their overpowering fragrance, these flowers add to springs color palette with their cool colors of pink and purple.

Grape Hyacinth - cones of tightly packed purple flowers

You may have noticed some small purple flowers known as grape hyacinths.   Not a true hyacinth,  the inflorescence of this flower is a cone of small purple flowers that almost looks like a miniature clump of grapes.

White daffodiles with bright yellow center
Daffodil ‘Ice Follies‘

If you want to bring some spring cheer inside (highly recommended), it is best to give daffodils their own vase as their stems secrete a substance that is harmful to other flowers.


Spring Ephemerals

White and purple flowers growing out of a patch of soil
A mixture of the white spring ephemeral bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and the purple spring bulb green anemone (Anemone blanda).
Clump of small flowers with five purple petals a light yellow center
Hepatica nobilis

One of the great joys of spring is the appearance of spring ephemerals.  These native plants grow in wooded areas and only have a short time to flower before the trees above them leaf out and block their sunlight.  When you are walking through wooded areas in the spring, make sure you watch your feet or might step on the delicate flowers of the bloodroot or the hepatica.

Other Spring Blooms

Clusters of cascading pink flowers
Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
Small purple and magenta flowers in a mass of green leaves with white spots
Lungwort (Pulmaria spp.)

From the showy flowers of the andromeda bush to the subtle flowers of the lungwort, the more time you spend out side the more flowers you’ll notice.

Weeds – It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

Dandelion with a bright yellow flower growing in the crack between two pavers
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Many spring flowering plants are considered weeds.  You may think that dandelion in your lawn is unsightly, but the bees beg to differ.  Dandelions are an important source of pollen and nectar for bees in the early spring as are other spring flowering ‘weeds’ like purple deadnettle and henbit.

What about Fungus?

Bright orange sphere with orange tentecales attached to the needles of an evergreen tree
Cedar-Apple Rust Gall (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae)

Now fungi aren’t plants, so they don’t have flowers, but they can add color to the landscape.  In the spring cedar-apple rust galls that overwintered on juniper become more noticeable as they produce gelatinous tendrils that release spores  into the air.  Some of these spores will find their way to apple trees where they can cause problems by infecting the leaves and the fruit of the tree.

Happy Spring!

Spring bouquet of bright yellow daffodils and forsythia, purple grape hyacunth, white andromeda, and buds of a pink cherry treeThanks to all of the Master Gardener Volunteers who provided their thoughts and photos for this post!