After a very long, cold, gray winter, spring finally arrived in April. My garden was filled with beautiful flowers. It started with the amazing fragrance of Hyacinths (Delft Blue and Fondant) that I could smell all over the front yard… and sweet little Daffodils.
Hyacinths are native in the Middle East, near the Mediterranean. They were introduced to Western Europe in the 1500’s, and they have been sold commercially ever since.
The Virginia Bluebells bloomed soon after. They were my favorite! More beautiful than I had hoped they would be… I planted them last fall.
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are native spring ephemerals in Virginia. They are related to Forget-me-not and Comfrey. They spread to form a large colony. The beautiful pink blooms gradually change to blue. Native female Bumblebees, butterflies and moths seek out their pollen in early spring.
Spring ephemerals are perennial wildflowers, typically found in woodland areas. After blooming, they produce seed, then they die back to the ground in summer until the next spring.
Bleeding Heart, another spring ephemeral wildflower in Virginia, is also one of my favorites. These sweet flowers are adorable! And they attract hummingbirds.
The first plants I bought this year were two of these Labrador Violets (also called American Dog Violets).
Violets are host plants for Fritillary Butterflies. Cardinals and other song birds eat the seeds. The tiny flowers of Violet’s and violas are edible too. So I had to add them to my shade garden as a beautiful ground cover…
Then a couple of weeks later I looked down and realized that my entire yard is already filled with native violets! Haha! Oh well.
Last fall I planted my first daffodils. I have four different varieties: Lemon Sailboat, Falconet, Sweet Love and Avalanche. It was fun watching each variety bloom in succession. I’ve always loved daffodils. I first remember seeing them in my grandmother’s garden.
Daffodils are native in the Western Mediterranean region. The most popular flowering bulb in the world, they are long-lived, and rarely eaten by squirrels, unlike tulips and other spring bulbs. They have been cultivated since early human history. The earliest known reference to Daffodils can be found in writings of Mohammed in the 6th century. They became especially popular in the 1500’s.
Creeping phlox is a beautiful ground cover that is native in eastern U.S. woodlands. Like all phlox, it attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and moths (including the hawk or hummingbird moth). It spreads by runners and is loaded with blooms in spring. After it finishes blooming the leaves stay attractive all summer.
I had to buy these adorable ‘Penny Lane’ Violas because I am a huge Beatles fan. They make me smile! The flowers are edible and a good source of vitamins A and C. They are cold hardy and heat tolerant. I’m hoping they will continue blooming all summer in this shady spot.
I had so many flowers in April that I was able to cut many of them to enjoy indoors too.