While the dreary winter surges on in New England, there is much you can do to prepare for a lively spring yard. Gardening is not secluded to only the warm months. In fact, several popular flower varieties thrive when their seeds, bulbs, and tubers are planted soon after the last winter freeze. From hanging plants to garden beds, these flower varieties will awaken your home and yard from a bitter winter.
Lilies are elegant flowers that bloom in a variety of colors, from tiger-striped oranges to deep burgundies. Their perennial bulbs can be planted in the early spring when the soil is workable and dethawed. These six-pointed star blossoms may look delicate, but the flowers are actually quite hardy and easy to grow. Lilies can bloom from early summer to the fall, yielding brilliant flowers for the majority of the warm season.
Some excellent lily varieties include:
- Wood Lily
- Easter Lily
- Canada Lily
Ornamental dahlias are a striking addition to any home. The varying features of each species, from the pompom petals to the plate-sized flower heads, will enhance the diversity of your garden. These tubers can be planted in later spring from May to June and begin to bloom roughly eight weeks after being planted. As perennials, they also return year after year if given partial to full sun and sufficient drainage.
Some excellent dahlia varieties include:
- Dahlia Kelvin Floodlight
- Dahlia Waltzing Mathilda
- Dahlia Cornell
Ranunculuses are feminine flowers that can be planted several times throughout the year, including late winter and early spring. Their paper-thin petals and warm hues make for beautiful displays in hanging pots, beds, and cut in a vase. Ranunculuses thrive best in full sun and soil with adequate drainage and can be cut for several occasions, such as Mother’s Day and Easter.
Some excellent ranunculus varieties include:
- Ranunculus Venere
- Ranunculus Purple Picotee
- Ranunculus Accolade
With deep jade leaves and coral blooms, begonias make for an intriguing indoor houseplant or outdoor variety. They are a more delicate spring flower that prefers warm soil, safe from any impending freezes. While they are biologically perennials, their tenderness often results in being planted as an annual with a one-season life expectancy. Their tubers may even be uprooted and stored over the colder months.
Some excellent begonia varieties include:
- Spring Fling Buttercup Begonia
- Shine Bright White Begonia
- Nonstop Joy Yellow Begonia
Known as “Aphrodite’s flower”, the delicately layered petals and intense purple carpels of many varieties are what make anemones a popular addition to wildflower gardens and bouquets. Their dainty petal’s dark appearance is a balancing counterpart to neighboring lighter flowers. While the perennial species are not as hardy in frost, they are resistant to many pests.
Some excellent anemone varieties include:
- Anemone Dreaming Swan
- Hadspen Abundance Anemone
- Anemone Honorine Jobert
These early spring flowers are a frequent choice for decorative bedding along homes and gardens. With a unique petal pattern and paint-splatter design, the miniature blooms of the viola come in a plethora of colors from oranges to purple-yellow patterns. Violas have both perennial and annual species, but the seeding of annual violas is most popular in New England gardens.
Some excellent viola varieties include:
- Northern Lights Viola
- Penny Purple Picotee Viola
- Sweetheart Viola
Frequently recognized by their ruffled pink blooms, peonies are a favorite in New England due to their hardiness and beauty. While they may take 3-5 years to yield beautiful flowers, with enough tender care the perennial bush can live over 100 years old! Peonies require little maintenance from their caretakers but prefer well-drained soil and full sun. A variety of early and late blooming species can be planted together in order to yield flowers over several seasons.
Some excellent peony varieties include:
- Primevere Peony
- Coral Charm Peony
- Duchesse De Nemours Peony
After the last hard frost of winter, geraniums are a stunning perennial plant to sow in pots and beds alike. These aromatic flowers were originally native to South Africa, but are now common house and hanging plants across the United States. Their floral clusters come in several colors, but red, hot pink, and white are among the most popular. With adequate sunlight and significant watering and drainage, geraniums can bloom from spring to the first frost.
Some excellent geranium varieties include:
- Blue Fusion Geranium
- Tango Geranium
- Cranesbill Geranium
The vibrant stems of the annual snapdragon can be a unique addition to any bed or garden. Also nicknamed “dragon flowers”, their blossoms resemble a gaping dragon mouth when squeezed. Their seeds can be sown indoor weeks before the last frost of the winter and transplanted outside. Snapdragons need significantly more watering than other flower varieties but thrive in full to partial sun and cooler temperatures.
Some excellent snapdragon varieties include:
- Tutti Frutti Snapdragon
- Twinny Apple blossom Snapdragon
- Angelonia Snapdragon
With an assortment of both hardy and beautiful spring-planted flower varieties, your garden will flourish throughout summer and fall. While January may be an unexpected time to commence garden and bed planning, now is the perfect opportunity to prepare for your warm-season blooms.
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Guest Author: Victoria Mcnally