Early Blooming Plants, Bulbs and Trees for Northern Gardeners - World's Coolest Rain Gauge Co.

Early Blooming Plants, Bulbs and Trees for Northern Gardeners

As the snow melts and the first signs of spring peek through the still-chilly air in the Northern US, nature begins its annual rebirth, bringing color and life back to the landscape. For garden enthusiasts and flower lovers, this time of year is particularly exciting as we anticipate the arrival of early blooming plants. These early risers are not just a sign that warmer weather is on the horizon; they're also crucial for providing early forage for pollinators. So, grab your gardening gloves and let’s dive into the world of the earliest bloomers - from cheerful bulbs to resilient shrubs and trees that defy the last of winter's chill.

Bulbs: The First Color Splashes

Crocuses: Often the very first to break through the snow, crocuses are the brave pioneers of spring. Their vibrant purple, yellow, and white blooms are a welcome splash of color. Plant them in fall, and by late winter or early spring, they'll be peeking out to greet you.

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis): Living up to their name, snowdrops can push through the snow to bloom. These delicate white flowers are a symbol of hope and renewal. They're one of the first bulbs to bloom, sometimes appearing as early as late winter.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis): With their bright yellow flowers, winter aconites can light up the entire garden even on the grayest of days. They often bloom at the same time as snowdrops and are perfect for naturalizing under trees and in grass.

Trees: Early Blooms High Above

Red Maple (Acer rubrum): Before most other trees have even thought about waking up, the red maple begins to show its small but vibrant red flowers. Not only do they add early color to the landscape, but they're also an important early pollen source for bees.

Magnolia: Early-blooming magnolias, like the star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) and saucer magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana), are truly a sight to behold. Their large, fragrant blooms range from white to pink and purple, providing an early feast for the eyes before most other trees have leafed out.

Shrubs: Hardy and Hopeful

Forsythia: Nothing says spring quite like the bright yellow blooms of forsythia. This hardy shrub is one of the first to flower, creating a striking burst of color that can be seen from blocks away. Their flowering is often seen as the true start of the spring season.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis): Witch hazel is unique because it can bloom from late fall into early spring, depending on the species. Its spidery yellow, orange, or red flowers not only add color to the winter garden but also a sweet, spicy fragrance.

Perennials: The Ground-Level Show

Hellebores (Helleborus): Also known as Lenten rose, hellebores are one of the earliest of the early blooming plants. Their flowers come in shades of white, green, pink, purple, and almost black. They're incredibly resilient and can bloom even when snow is still on the ground.

Pulmonaria (Lungwort): With their speckled foliage and pink, blue, or purple flowers, pulmonarias are excellent ground cover plants for shady areas. They're one of the first perennials to flower, offering early pollen to bees.

Tips for a Continuous Spring Display

To enjoy the earliest blooms, it's all about planning. Plant a variety of these early bloomers, and you'll not only have a garden that springs to life at the first hint of warmer days but also support the local ecosystem by providing crucial early-season nectar for pollinators.

1. Layer Your Plantings: Combine bulbs, perennials, shrubs, and trees to create a layered garden. This not only adds visual interest but ensures that as one plant finishes blooming, another starts, keeping your garden colorful from late winter through spring.

2. Think About Location: Early bloomers often do best in spots where they can enjoy the full sun in late winter and early spring before the trees leaf out. Consider planting them near south-facing walls or in open areas to maximize their bloom time.

3. Soil and Care: While these plants are generally hardy, they still appreciate well-drained soil and the occasional dose of fertilizer, especially the bulbs and perennials. A little care goes a long way in ensuring vibrant early blooms year after year. Monitor rainfall with a rain gauge, especially if spring rains are unreliable or sparse.

4. Wildlife Friendly: By choosing a mix of these plants, you're not just beautifying your space; you're creating a haven for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators that are active in early spring. Consider adding a water source or leaving some garden debris through the winter to provide habitat for overwintering insects.

As the days lengthen and the frost begins to recede, these early bloomers stand ready to herald the arrival of spring in the Northern US. They remind us of the resilience and beauty of nature, bringing joy and color back into our lives after the long, gray winter. So, whether you're a seasoned gardener or just beginning to dip your toes into the world of horticulture, consider adding some of these early risers to your garden. They're not just plants; they're a promise of the warmth and growth to come.

Back to blog