One would think that having an attractive garden in the months of April and May would be a piece of cake. It is! We have a gazillion options for adding interest across the whole gamut of plant types, from annuals and perennials to shrubs and trees. I often joke with customers, telling them to “just plant one of everything”, knowing full well that this philosophy would result in horticultural chaos. But if your garden is not absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in these spring months, you probably need to spend more time at the garden center. Perhaps the following plant information will stimulate you to do so!
Japanese Maples: This is such an incredibly diverse group, it just kills my soul to see gardeners limit their choices to the pedestrian lace-leaf forms and ubiquitous upright purple-leaved varieties. There are, literally, hundreds of options to choose from and the best time to see them is right now, when they are leafing out. Many are also well suited for growing in containers. A cluster of 2 to 3 pots of maples makes for a lovely little vignette on a deck or patio. If you want to learn more about these delightful shrubs and trees, come to our class on Saturday April 16that 10am where Trevor Cameron, CPH, will share his passion for this group of plants.
Flowering Trees: Again, there is no need to settle for the mundane and overused. Thundercloud flowering plums are wonderful in March, but there are lots of other choices for April. One of my favorites is the flowering crabapple. “Royal Raindrops” is a variety that has the same purple foliage as the above mentioned plum, but the flower buds are a rich red, which is a hard color to come by in a flowering tree. On April 17th at 11am you can learn all about flowering trees for all seasons here at the nursery.
Rhodies and Azaleas: The world of rhodies and azaleas is as diverse as Japanese Maples. There are lots of dwarf rhodies that only get 1 to 2 feet tall and the flower color choices for rhodies are all over the color spectrum. While most are evergreen, there is a group of deciduous azaleas that will grow in full sun, are fragrant and bloom in the gregarious color range of gold, red and orange. “Irene Koster” is probably my favorite with its intense fragrance. On April 23rd at 10am we will be offering a class on rhodies and azaleas which will surely open your eyes to all the wonderful choices that we can grow in our northwest gardens.
Golden Foliage: There is absolutely nothing more breathtaking, in my mind, then the brilliant golden new foliage of Japanese Forest grass. The same can be said for “Gold Heart” bleeding heart, “Bowles Golden” sedge or “Sundance” Mexican Orange. The latter is an evergreen shrub, which is blooming now, with white fragrant flowers reminiscent of orange blossoms. I understand that golden foliage is an acquired taste, but once embraced, it is a mark of an enlightened gardener.
Brunnera: This is a bullet-proof perennial for shade that blooms now with blue “Forget-me-not” like flowers. The foliage is large and round with striking silver markings that make great companions to hostas, ferns and astilbies. As a bonus, Brunnera is also slug resistant, which is always a good thing when it comes to shade gardens.