The Power Parade

I don’t know about you, but I am afraid to blink this time
of year for fear I will miss something blooming in my garden.  Each day I walk along the woodland trail and
around my property looking for emerging foliage and blooms.  There seems to be a constant succession of
flowers, a true ‘Power Parade,’ a concept my dad conceived of while working in
marketing at Caterpillar Tractor Company. 
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a Power Parade,
in Caterpillar terminology, it was a fashion show of sorts for earth moving equipment.  One by one, each new model of truck, tractor,
front loader and paver would saunter down the proving grounds runway in front
of admiring crowds. 
That’s what my garden is like right now, and I’m recording
lots of Fitbit steps trying to keep up with each new model.  Beyond the traditional daffodils, snowdrops,
crocus and tulips, I have many favorites. 
Here are a few, or more accurately – 12 of them!
In the tree category, I love Halesia carolina and Cercis
canadensis. Both can take some shade. And both put on quite a display in
April.  Halesia, also known as Carolina
silverbell, features drooping clusters of bell-shaped, white flowers that
can’t be ignored.  Cercis canadensis
sports arresting magenta-colored flowers on bare branches before the foliage
Halesia’s lovely ‘silver bells’

Cercis canadensis – the amazing native Redbud
In the creeping or spreading category, I love Corydalis
lutea, Phlox stolinifera, Phlox subulata, Packera aurea, Stylophorum diphyllum,
and of course, Mertensia virginica.  Corydalis
lutea, Stylophorum diphyllum and Packera aurea can be a bit aggressive based on
my experience, so be forewarned!  If you
don’t want lots more, don’t plant them.
Stylophorum diphyllum, also known as Celandine Poppy

Phlox subulata looks great cascading over a wall

Mertensia virginica, Virginia bluebells

Phlox stolonifera perks up the woodland floor

Corydalis lutea pairs beautifully with Japanese Painted fern

Packera aurea freely colonizes
Anemone blanda creates a lovely blanket of daisy like
flowers, the purple ones being my favorite. I like planting them among other
emerging perennials and along my woodland trail.  When they disappear in the late spring, other
plants, like hostas, take their place. 
Anemone blanda’s cheery blooms create a purple carpet
Epimedium is a great plant for dry shade.  It’s early spring foliage is breathtaking and
the little flowers are delicate and delightful. 
Once it’s spring bloom is over, it maintains clean, deer-resistant foliage
until frost. Can you tell it’s one of my favorites?
Epimedium sulphureum has colorful foliage and delicate flowers in the spring
Iberis sempervirens is another early spring winner.  Its evergreen foliage is covered with white
flowers that look like petals kissed by snow. 
The only problem?  The deer love
it, so keep your deer spray nearby so you can enjoy the show.
Iberis sempervirens
One of my favorite spring blooming shrubs is Fothergilla gardenii.  I adore the bottle brush flowers that have a
subtle honey fragrance.  Because the
leaves don’t emerge until later, the blooms can be fully appreciated. 
Fothergilla gardenii’s blooms cover the plant
Of course there are many other spring bloomers in the garden
than the ones I’ve highlighted.  I’ve probably
missed a few models while writing this blog! 
So, I’d better get back out there and see what’s happening. I don’t want
to miss the parade!

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