Spring has Arrived!
Birds are chirping, the rains are washing away the winter cover, and BEI cannot wait to get out there for spring’s “Opening Act”.
Here is a pretty list of spring ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers that we cannot wait to see bloom!
Pussy Willow is a fast growing ornamental tree admired for its strong, spreading, upright stems and colorful autumn leaves. The furry catkins are striding on the bare stems in the spring, appearing between seasons when gardens can seem rather blah. Many celebrate Easter with pussy willow branches as a center height point on their dinner table.
An early blooming ornamental tree with large, fragrant, white flowers appearing before the foliage emerges in the spring. This springtime thriller that will add a nice touch to any landscape throughout the seasons. Star Magnolias have open branching canopies and are multi-trunked specimen plants that are very hardy on both commercial and residential sites. These pretty trees have excellent cold and heat tolerance for the mid-west and typically blooms emerge in early April.
The Red Bud is a small to medium tree with striking pink to purple spring blossoms that sit on thin branches. In Chicagoland mid-April is the typical bloom time. For best results in Chicagoland provide some protection from the winter winds with your planting placement. The red bud also features beautiful green heart shaped leaves throughout the growing season that transition to a beautiful yellow in the fall.
Witch Hazel is one of the earliest large shrubs/small trees to provide color at the end of winter. The flowers are strap-like, in a deep yellow with a center of red at the base. Some say the flowers have a spicy-scented fragrance. New foliage is yellowish-green, deepening to medium green over the summer, turning buttery yellow in the fall.
Forsythia are known for their plethora of vibrant yellow spring flowers. This medium sized shrub is underused and can be underwhelming during the summer months with its basic green small leaflets. Forsythia’s nickname is the “Easter tree” and is used as a symbol of the coming spring.
Azalea shrubs are know to golf fanatics worldwide from the plantings on the 13th Hole at Augusta National Golf Club. Nothing is more elegant than azalea shrubs in spring boom. Blossoms range from white, through a kaleidoscope of pinks and purples and can last for several weeks. Azaleas grow best with morning sun and afternoon shade. Azaleas will even bloom in the shade. Azaleas are slow growing and can handle urban commercial landscape conditions.
Creeping phlox is a dazzling blanket of color that warms our hearts in the spring. Show stopping waves of pinks, purples and blues are welcomed by early spring warm days. The fine foliage on this spreading groundcover provides texture through the long dormant months. Creeping phlox is beautiful when used in conjunction with natural stone walls and walk ways. It is heat tolerant in foliage form in the summer, but has no showy summer characteristics.
Bleeding Heart is one of the most romantic garden plants. The pink blossom is heart shaped and has a white “dagger” protruding through the base of the heart. The Bleeding Heart is an early spring garden thriller, but disappears by late July. These old fashioned perennial favorites are shade loving and resistant to deer and rabbits.
Crocus is a fall planted bulb that provides relatively large floral waves of perennial color in the spring. A variety of purples, gold and white colors invade the gardening scene in late winter (as early as February) to early spring. The flowers close at night. For food enthusiasts, Crocus stigmas are the bright red-orange threads you get when you buy saffron.
Scilla is a bulb that multiplies and spreads. This tiny plant has a vibrant blue flower on top of arching stalks and slightly nod above the dark green grass-like foliage coin the early spring. Absolutely gorgeous when planted in masses. Also great for attracting pollinating insects. Not bothered by deer!