Well, the winter blues should be just about behind us as spring has begun to set in. If my allergies could reach an agreement with all this pollen then maybe I could enjoy it a little more! I'm sure it will get better soon. The warmer temperatures and spring blooms seem to cure most of what ails us.
The recent cooler temps and wet spring we're having here in SE Virginia hasn't slowed the spring blooms from returning. All seems to be close to schedule and in full force. Here's my Bloom Day lineup for this month.
First, I'll start out with some old (but good) standby bloomers. We didn't plant pansies this spring but we've had some that's over wintered in pots. I haven't deadheaded these like I should but they don't seem to be bothered by it. They just keep right on doing what they do.
Now here's a plant that you wouldn't normally associate with the other bloomers. It's the holly. These shrubs, now in full bloom (if you look closely), are part of my front foundation bed. And believe it or not, the honey bees and other pollinators are all over them right now. As a bonus, they're very, very fragrant as well. It's nice to catch a whiff of them as I enter and exit the house. I'm not sure what variety of holly they are. They were planted before we moved in three years ago. If anyone can tell by these photos please let me know.
Besides bees, hollies benefit other wildlife as well. Their dense evergreen foliage provide cover and protection, while their berries provide food.
Look what I found while photographing these holly shrubs. Look closely in the below photo and you can see a small birds nest with four little blue eggs in it. This is a the nest of a chipping sparrow. Chipping sparrows make their nest in dense shrubs, usually just a few feet from the ground. Very cool!
And speaking of pollinators, here's another native that the bees love this time of year. Its the gelsemium sempervirens, 'Carolina jasmine'. These vines have been in full bloom for a couple weeks now. They are heavy springtime bloomers and sometimes I'll get a few blooms from this in the fall. I like the fact that these are evergreen as well.
Next is my kwanza cherry tree. This was a gift from my parents last spring. Lots of blooms beginning to open up. Its an early spring bloomer, but not quite as early as the flowering pear and other fruit trees. These are what I call the "second round" bloomers.
Now here's a new plant that I don't know that much about - 'Marsh Marigold'. What I do know is that they grow in a clump type fashion and will spread quickly if grown in the right conditions; which is moist, damp, partial sunny areas. They have attractive green foliage accompanied by little yellow blooms that pop-up throughout the foliage. I dug up several clumps from my parents place and planted them in the back corner of my property. It's the lowest area in my yard and the last place that would dry out. I'm not sure how they'll do but thought they would make a nice groundcover below the shrubs I have planted in that area. They keep their green color in the winter and begin blooming in our area in late winter.
Next is one of my favorites - Lonicera sempervirens, 'Alabama Crimson' honeysuckle. This is a wonderful vine for attracting hummingbirds. I've already seen ruby-throated hummingbirds sipping nectar from it this spring. If I'm not mistaking, it's a native honeysuckle vine. I have this second year vine climbing up my deck post.
Here's another native and another one of my favorites - amelanchier arborea, 'Serviceberry'. Serviceberry's can be grown as a small tree or large shrub. They have clusters of white flowers in the spring followed by berries that mature in summer. The berries are edible and I have heard that they are very good, if you can beat the birds to them. It's a great alternative to the ornamental flowering pear or crape myrtle tree. This particular one was planted last fall and I just recently purchased a second one (thanks Les!).
Last but not least is my dwarf patio peach tree. Most of the blooms from this tree have faded but there were a few good ones still remaining. I have this planted on the corner of house by the deck. These are very small fruit trees and will grow well in containers.
Please go and check out May Dreams Garden to see what else is in bloom.