Disclaimer: This post is for entertainment purposes only. Any opinions expressed are those of the author.
April Showers Bring May Flowers
For many this old adage is a gentle reminder that those pesky spring storms, which drop temperatures and add a little gloom to our days are very necessary.
Mother nature knows what she needs and in the spring, after the long sleep of winter, her plants need plenty of water to wake them up and get them growing.
I know for many of you in the warmer climates spring has already started and your flowers are in full bloom. But for some of us, we get teased with warm days only to have a storm roll in and the temperatures drop twenty degrees or more.
I don’t know about you, but I get weary of winter weather, so I am loving all the early spring flowers that are popping up.
There are several early spring flowers, flowering trees, and bushes. I decided to keep it simple and just highlight some of my favorites.
Here are my top ten blooming beauties.
Glory Of The Snow
This little star shaped flower is one of the first to pop up. So impatient to grow in the spring it is often seen pushing through a layer of late snow. Which is how it came to be called Chionodoxa which literally means “snow glory.”
You also get a lot of bang for your buck as each bulb will put out between 5-10 blooms.
Originally from the Eastern Mediterrianian, it comes in a variety of colors and hues.
Most popular are the blue, pink, and white flowers, and are commonly used in bouquets.
But be warned, this little beauty may become aggressive and spread. Then again, that may be a good thing.
Galanthus Nivalis can be literally translated as the white flower that resembles snow. This pretty little bell shaped flowers are a welcome relief from the snowy winter and are often found in shady woodlands.
Appearing like magic in the early spring, this harbinger of spring announces to all that winter is ending and spring has arrived.
When grown indoors their honey like scent is more noticeable and can add a certain warmth to the energy of the home.
Fun fact: Snow drops contain a substance called galantamine which is used in making medicine to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms.
But don’t be tempted to add this flower to your salads as it is poisonous and even touching it with your bare skin can cause a reaction.
Speaking of edible plants.The dandelion or taraxacum officinale is native to Europe and Asia and was transplanted to North America originally as a food crop.
In fact people used to remove grass from their gardens in order to plant dandelions.
Now growing widely most consider this amazing flower as a weed without realizing it’s value.
Also called wild endive, among a plethora of other names, it has many nutritional benefits.
Here’s a few: Rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.
Rich in Iron and polyphenols.
Can be eaten raw, cooked, made into teas, tinctures, and even wine.
We’ll have to explore this amazing plant in more detail later. Just know that these spring flowers are amazing, and they are also one of the earliest food sources for pollinators.
Cultivated for their beautiful flowers appearing in autumn, winter, and spring. This beauty likes the cooler weather. While I can’t relate to loving the cooler weather, I do appreciate this addition to the spring flower collection.
The word Crocus has a fun, yet circuitous, etymology but basically it means saffron. In fact the spice saffron is harvested from the stigma of crocus sativus, and autumn blooming species.
Considering how expensive saffron is, this almost makes me want to try and grow my own. Probably should do more research, might be easier to fork out the money to just buy the spice.
Crocuses come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, though all bear enough similarities to be easily identifiable.
Daffodils aka Narcissus
So I learned something new in writing this post. Daffodils are narcissus. Daffodils, narcissus and jonquil are some of the more common names. But now I know what a narcissus flower is, and that makes me really happy.
These trumpet shaped flowers come in yellow and white and are among some of the easiest flowers to grow and one of the earliest in the spring. Hence their popularity with gardners.
They have a sweet smell and come in a wide variety.
Due to their cold weather hardiness these are some of the only early spring flowers in some regions. So if you love these blooms you are not alone.
Witch Hazel Shrub
Occasionally called “winterbloom” this deciduous shrub, and sometimes small tree, is known for its beautiful yellow blooms.
Commonly mistaken as forsythia from a distance, it’s flower shape and texture quickly give it away.
The word “witch” in witch hazel actually comes from the old english “wice” meaning “pliant or bendable” and is not related to the word witch meaning a practitioner of magic.
Commonly distilled and diluted into a solution, witch hazel is used as a topical remedy for minor skin irritation.
The distillation process was refined by Thomas Newton Dickinson Sr. who is also accredited with the commercial production of witch-hazel extract
Now this is the yellow shrub I am most familiar with, and I only wish it would bloom longer. In my area when I see these bushes in full bloom it really starts to feel like spring.
Even if it’s trying to snow, these vibrant yellow flowers brighten even the gloomiest of days.
One of the unique things about the forsythia bush is that the flowers bloom before the leaves appear.
They make wonderful border plants and as a bonus, when they are in bloom, you can trim off some of the branches and place them in vases to add a little cheer to your home.
I love these blooms. So delicate in appearance these blooms bring a garden to life, and best part this is a tree.
I say the best part because it gives us a reason to look up in the spring.
Most of the flowers are on the ground or bushes, but the magnolia is a beautiful tree that puts out these generous sized flowers.
As with our forsythia friend, deciduous magnolia trees flower before the leaves grow and come in shades of white and pink.
Magnolias add levels of interest to any garden.
The chaenomeles speciosa or flowering quince adds a dash of vibrancy to the spring time rush of early flowers.
The flowers come in shades of red and pink and grow before the leaves even think about growing.
But don’t confuse this with the quince tree which bears fruit. The flowering quince is a shrub which bears only lipstick colored flowers.
Flowering Quince bushes to have thorns so take care when trimming them, or when placing arrangements in a vase.
If you’re lucky enough to have both a forsythia and a flowering quince then you will have some of the most beautiful spring floral arrangements.
While note the earliest bloom, I had to at least mention the tulip as for many this is the quintessential spring flower. Heck there are entire festivals dedicated to tulips.
Economies have been bolstered, albeit briefly, on the tulip bulbs such as the Tulip Mania of the Dutch Tulip in the 17th century.
Fields of tulips are grown in the Netherlands and Holland to this day and is a common image in many people’s minds when they think of tulips
In Amsterdam during the second world war when food was scarce and starvation rampant, tulip bulbs were used as a food source.
Good to know that yes, they are edible, though not sure about the flavor.
Tulips come in such a wide variety and colors, and you may be interested to learn, is part of the lily family.
While during the height of the European tulip mania a bunch of bulbs was estimated to be somewhere around five grand, you can now buy a bunch of tulip bulbs for around $9 dollars, depending on the variety.
Most tulips will continue to grow for many years, and some will even spread through your garden.
Spring Glorious Spring
In my neck of the woods there are several trees, as well as flowers that are in bloom. I know that spring officially started almost a month ago, but really it’s not until the trees and flowers start to bloom that it feels like spring.
Even on a wet and cold spring morning it’s nice to walk or drive outside and see the abundance of life that is popping out all over the place.
I have a neighbor that has many of the above flowers, including a magnolia, in his yard. He is an avid gardener and I love to watch it come to life.
Knowing that winter is indeed on the wing and summer is just around the corner helps to put a bounce in my step and a smile on my face.
Comment below with your favorite spring flower.