By nature, I'm not a particularly greedy person. But "greedy" is the only good way to describe the way I act around the spring's first cart of pansies or primroses, and later on, poppies and anemones. My eyes narrow to suspicious, unattractive little slits as I glance shiftily at my fellow shoppers, assessing each person's likelihood of snatching the plants I want. It's not that I have some crazy love for early annuals (though I do like pansies), it's that these early plants mean spring is here! And in my little brain, spring is in danger of being bought up by everyone else, and I won't get any.

Primrose
Rogue Valley Gardener
I know it's irrational, but maybe you're a little like me? You, too, get really excited about being able to plant something and watch it grow again? If so, I have a few suggestions of what you can plant early in the season and enjoy until later spring allows for more planting.

1. Pansies and primroses are the first ones to show up on shelves, and they're great for introducing a little color to your life and garden again. Some gardeners get all snobby about these plants--I guess they're just not as desperate for spring.

2. Spring bulbs. Okay, so you have to get these in the ground by December, at the latest. But you can still buy them as plants. Think tulips (a favorite of Carolyn Miller, via Facebook), crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils (Twitter follower Fresco_Food tweeted us a picture of hers), narcissus, grape hyacinth,

3. Hellebores. Featured in February's issue of Better Homes and Gardens, these are winter-blooming plants (YAY!). They're tall-ish plants, sometimes as big as 3 feet, and they make good cut flowers. (Bet you didn't know you could grow your own cut flowers in January!). Long-lived and evergreen, they like shadier areas. Blooms come in unorthodox colors, like pale green and deep purple that borders on black. (Also, purples, whites, pinks...)

4. Cyclamen. Several varieties flower from January to March. Others flower in late summer. Cyclamen are easily grown from seed, but they'll take several years to flower. Flower colors include red, pink, purple and white. Best time to plant is when they're dormant, between June and August. Not big fans of sun and heat, so grow them in cooler, shady spots (like under a camellia).

5. Speaking of, camellias and rhododendrons get the show started pretty early, too. Camellias are earlier bloomers than rhodies (mine are gonna bust open any day now; I can feel it!), and the show is just spectacular. Most of the ones I inherited are pink, but I've seem some lipstick-red ones that make me go weak in the knees.

What are your favorite spring flowers and why are you drawn to them? We want to hear from you!

 

Joanna is a new-ish homeowner who lives with her husband Todd in East Medford. They've been baptized by fire into gardening and landscaping, after moving in to an old house with a half-acre lot that was best described as "dead." After a year and a half of pruning the overgrown, planting new stuff and removing the dead, things are starting to look a lot more green.

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