Landscaping is the quickest way to make a big impact on any property – instant gratification! A little forethought, money, and muscle can transform a blank canvas into a Renoir in no time. The right plant for the right place is the only rule that should never be broken because setting a plant up for success provides the greatest potential for a long and happy life.
Once you identify site characteristics such as sun/wind exposures, soil quality/holding capacity, and any additional environmental challenges, choosing a plant-based on ornamental characteristics is the fun part! Mixing up colors, textures, and heights at maturity helps to add natural depth to your design. Using plants that flower at different times throughout the year can help highlight certain areas of your landscape and prolong its interest.
Below are some early spring bloomers that are solid choices for color and have truly come to signify the arrival of spring in New England.
While prone to lace bug in excessively sunny spots, pieris varieties elegantly usher in spring with an abundance of hanging flowers that attract native bees.
- ‘Mountain fire’ displays a gorgeous scarlet hue on the new growth.
- ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ has red buds opening to white, fragrant flowers over dark green leaves.
Utilize this type of dogwood for beautiful golden flowers that help brighten up the dark exterior of a home after a gloomy winter. The red fruit, which can be used in preserves, is contrasted nicely in summer against glossy, green foliage. Flaky bark also provides ornamental interest during winter, like a more subtle version of river birch, the exfoliating bark being more brown than pink.
Plant rhododendron dauricum, a beautiful purple bloomer, with forsythia or Cornus mas to give spring the royal welcome! Rhododendron schlippenbachii is another top choice for planting next to a home with dark siding or across from a front entrance to brighten moods as winter officially fades into the background.
The absence of color for so many months makes these early season all-stars appear fluorescent in the sunlight against barren backdrops of gray and brown.