New noteworthy spring-bloomers

Spring, the time of the year we eagerly wait for is here, not just on the calendar, but in the garden as well. As the camellias are completing the bloom cycle for the season, flowering trees and shrubs have burst into color, in particular the dogwoods and the azaleas. While our dogwood, being a late bloomer – it is the Kousa variety, is waiting for its turn; luckily, we get to enjoy those blooming in the yard across the street. And the azaleas, of course, are simply at their best now.  

In our own garden, two spring-bloomers have delightfully surprised us; both newcomers, growing within a few feet from each other, both with white flowers. The Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii), in full bloom a week or so back, was more or less an impulse buy, in addition to the sticker pinch I felt, which I generally try to avoid. But, the decision to get this shrub has turned out to be one of the best investments I have made.

This mid-sized variety has, in one growing season only, developed quite a few vigorous branches, bearing gorgeous dark green leaves with toothed margins. And, even though the tag that came with the plant indicates a deciduous habit, ours remained pretty much evergreen during winter. The noteworthy feature of the plant, however, was prominent in early spring when most branches were topped with clusters of small white flowers that not only look lovely but are sweetly scented too; needless to say, I didn’t miss the opportunity of bringing a few of them inside during the blooming period.

Although much smaller in size, about a foot in height and spread, but equally enchanting is the ‘Nikko’ Deutzia we planted not too long ago. Despite the bumpy start it had, the plant has bounced back nicely, at present covered with tiny flowers, literally; the star-shaped flowers that are also white in color are borne on arching racemes giving the plant a delicate appearance. Because of the size and the mounding habit, ‘Nikko’ is perfect for rock gardens; as a groundcover or to fill any available nooks and crannies in the garden.

Being deciduous, the plants do become totally bare in fall only to green up as soon as the weather breaks in spring.

With such an encouraging start, I am now looking forward to many more pleasant surprises this gardening season.

Gita’s Tip of the Month: Put rings or some other form of support on peonies before the shoots get too tall to manage; you will be surprised to see how fast they grow.

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