The days are short, nights are long and most days here in Pittsburgh tend to be cloudy, rainy or snowy. There is light at the end of the tunnel! We all are craving for the longer days of spring and summer and are counting the days until we can get out into the garden and onto our lawns again. There are a few harbingers of spring just about to start the show here in the Pittsburgh area. Look out for these gorgeous plants next time you’re out and about.
Picture this – it’s late February, and you’re walking through a Pittsburgh park, feeling a bit down because it’s still cold and dreary outside. But then, out of the corner of your eye, you see something white peeking up through the snow. You walk over for a closer look, and there they are – snowdrops! These little, bell-shaped flowers are one of the first signs of spring, and they always manage to put a smile on our faces. Plus, they’re great for bees and other pollinators who are looking for nectar early in the season.
The Lenten Rose
The Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose (Helleborus species) is a wonderful perennial that should be a staple in all gardens. Its evergreen foliage providing substance in the garden during the winter season; holding well throughout the winter season. Multitudes of white, purple, reddish, pink and/or speckled blossoms begin to appear very early in the year, at times even through the snow.
Resistant to both deer and voles, they are long-lived and provide wonderful blossoms at a time when flowers are a scarce in the garden.
Another plant with remarkable winter interest are the many cultivars of Witch Hazel (Hammamelis vernalis).
Blossoming as early as February in the Pittsburgh area, they bear very fragrant, yellow, orange to burgundy blossoms appearing on bare, leafless stems. Most can get rather large; easily 10-12 feet high and wide so give them room. Once you see Witch Hazel blooming you know spring is getting close.
If you’re a fan of bright colors, you’re going to love crocuses! These tiny flowers come in all sorts of shades, from deep purple to sunny yellow, and they can start blooming as early as late February. They’re tough little plants, too – they can handle cold temperatures and even a bit of snow, which makes them perfect for Pittsburgh’s unpredictable spring weather. If you’re looking for a cheerful burst of color in your garden, crocuses are a great choice.
Is there anything more quintessentially spring than daffodils? We don’t think so! These bright yellow flowers are a sure sign that warmer days are on the way, and they’re always a welcome sight after a long, gray winter. They typically start blooming in mid-March in Pittsburgh, and you can find them just about everywhere – in gardens, on hillsides, and even along the side of the road. Plus, they’re deer-resistant, which is a huge bonus if you’re trying to keep those pesky critters out of your garden. All in all, daffodils are just the thing to put a little spring in your step!
If the gloomy days of winter are wearing on you, think of introducing either or both of these terrific plants into your landscape. They will brighten up any garden.
Eichenlaub can help you with your landscape architectural planning, planting and other installation needs; just give us a call or send an email to set up an appointment to meet with one of our consultants.
Contact us if you have any further questions.
– Kevin Anthony Prall