26 March 2015

Spring Flowers for Zone 7

Come celebrate spring in Muskogee Third Annual Daffodil Day, Saturday, 10 to 2
Three Rivers Museum and Thomas-Foreman Home 220 Elgin
Daffodils in bloom, Daffodil-Themed art contest
$10 both  museums, plant sale, art show and tea
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The flowers of spring announce warmer temperatures and encourage us to get outside. The first show of daffodils, pansies, crocus and forsythia happening now will be followed by tulips, trilliums and azaleas.

It is time to focus on spring gardening, visiting public displays and garden centers where we can enjoy the early blooms. Here are some flowers to look for:

Pansies, Viola x wittrockiana – Whether you planted them last winter or early spring, warmer temperatures confirm pansies as one of the most cheerful flowers for containers and beds. They can be planted in part shade or sun as long as the soil is well-drained.

Grape Hyacinths, Muscare armeniacum, are already blooming. The lavender and purple blooms resemble clusters of grapes. Plant the bulbs among tree roots and they will naturalize, growing into larger clumps over the years.

Crocus has also started blooming in blue, purple, yellow and white. Fall-planted corms begin to bloom through the snow. Protect from squirrels.

Daffodils begin blooming in late Jan. and continue for a few months, depending on the variety. Their Latin name, Narcissus, is a result of their downward facing trumpet-shaped flower, reminiscent of the egotistical Narcissus in legends. Plant in the fall. Never prune the leaves unless they have turned yellow and fallen over. Bulbs multiply with abandon in full sun to part-shade. 

Yellow Trilliums, Trillium luteum, are ideal for a woodland setting where they can live for years in moist shade. The flowers die back when the heat arrives and then the leaves fade until next spring.

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria Canadensis, a member of the poppy family shows best when planted in masses in a woodland garden. This native can be allowed to naturalize in place. Plant them this spring for years of sweet, white flowers.

Tulip bulbs need a period of chill to bloom so they are planted in containers and flower beds in the fall. Sometimes referred to as “deer candy” they have to be well-protected. Though some do, most tulip varieties do not return the next year in zone 7 because our winters do not have a long enough cold period. Unlimited colors, shapes and sizes.

Redbud trees are considered a staple of southern gardens and make a beautiful show in bloom. Eastern Redbud, Cercis Canadensis, is the fastest growing and most commonly seen. Other varieties include: Alba (white flowers), Covey (weeping), Oklahoma (deep purple buds with rose-purple flowers), and C. c. texensis which is native to TX, OK and Mexico.

Azalea, Rhododendron, shrubs can be planted early spring and with care, can live for decades. Traditional types bloom in the spring but Encore Azaleas bloom in the spring, then set new wood and flower buds for a fall flush of flowers. Flowers can be single or double, half-inch to one-and-a-half inches across. Colors range from white to red with pinks and purples in the mid-range.

Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, thrives in part-shade. It is the most drought-tolerant variety. Like azaleas, they need sun to form flower buds and prefer the protection of a building or trees and evergreen shrubs.  Standard varieties mature at 9 feet tall; Munchkin is the dwarf selection.

Iris corms are planted in the fall for spring flowers in so many colors and color combinations that they are impossible to list. Give them full sun and keep the tops of the corms uncovered.

To help you plan next year’s spring garden, visit public displays and jot down the names of the plants you like.

Flowering Quince with daffodils
Woody plants with spring flowers include magnolia and dogwood trees, flowering quince, forsythia, hydrangea-azaleas peony and spirea shrubs.

Spring-blooming perennial flowers include: Oriental poppy, Anemone, Snowdrops, Oxalis, Violets, Candytuft, Columbine, Bleeding Heart, Lily of the Valley, Lenten Rose, and creeping Phlox.

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