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Herald staff | jloerch@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, March 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A few favorites from Northwest gardeners

Last week I admonished everyone for rushing the season by looking for and trying to plant geraniums and petunias and fuchsias. If you recall I told you that there are a ton of plants that bloom in early spring. Here are some of my favorites that you will find at the garden center as we speak.

PERENNIALS:

Bleeding Hearts—the golden leafed form is my all time favorite perennial. Simply stunning.

Candy Tuft—An evergreen, ground hugging perennial that to me ushers in every spring season.

Early bulbs—The best time to buy these little sparklers is in September through October. Look for Chionodoxa, Pushkinia, Eranthis, Scillas, Grape Hyacinths, Anemone, Galanthus, and my favorite, the Dog-tooth lily or Erythronium.

Pulmonaria—These are blooming now in shades of blue, pink and white. Tuff and slug proof.

Pasque Flower—Lacy, hairy foliage is topped with oversized anemone-like purple flowers that are guaranteed to stop you in your tracks.

Dbl. English Primroses—these are some of the workhorses of my shade beds. They are very long lived and take off when the grocery store primroses poop out.

Cyclamen coum—I just love these little jewels. Small one inch round mottled leaves with white to dark pink flowers. Hardy as hell and maintenance free.

Corydalis—finely cut foliage with dark blue flowers. This is a hard to find color for early spring.

Bergenia—another workhorse with colorful burgundy winter leaves and one foot tall stalks of pink flowers in March/April.

Hellebores—I could write a whole column on just Hellebores. There are so many new flavors in both the oriental and niger/Corsican crosses that it would make your head spin.

You can't have too many of these fabulous plants in your garden.

Mukdenia—something new and different, this is a ground cover with fan shaped leaves that is blooming now with small white flowers. Good summer and fall interest.

Brunnera—dependable perennial with silver foliage and blue forget-me-not like flowers now. Silver Heart and Sea Heart are two new flavors to look for this spring.

SHRUBS:

Pieris—the consummate broadleaf evergreen for the northwest. Early blooms draw in pollinators. Passion Frost is a new red flowered, variegated foliage flavor.

Buttercup Winter Hazel—primrose yellow flowers now, great fall color later, it is another harbinger of spring in my garden.

Daphne odora—nothing smells a yummy as a Daphne. Try Rebecca for the best foliage variegation. Lawrence Crocker is also a good low grower version with purple flowers.

Osmanthus delavayii—excellent fragrance and a tough broadleaf evergreen.

Viburnum "Dawn"—more fragrance from November thru April with soft pink flowers.

Forsythia—nothing says spring like this bright yellow shrub. Try Magical Gold for a more compact form.

Ribes Kind Edward VII—this is a selection of our native flowering currant. Dark pink flowers that draw in the hummers and pollinators. A must have for the garden.

Erica and Calluna—heathers and heaths that can bloom all winter or sport fabulous electric spring foliage. Troopers for our northwest gardens.

TREES:

Cornelian cherry—actually a type of dogwood, this tree blooms in my garden for 2 months with spidery yellow flowers.

Witch Hazel—although usually finished blooming by March it is worth noting that this is a nice small tree or large shrub that helps kick off the gardening year.

Flowering Plums, Pears and Cherries—late this year, Thunder Cloud plums are just now starting to color up. Pears are right behind them and some varieties of Cherries are also showing color.

So, don't tell me there is nothing of interest in the month of March. It just ain't so.

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached online at sunnysidenursery@msn.com.

Story tags » Gardening

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