large drift of leucojum

March Magic

Spring officially arrived on March 20 but I’ve been seeing signs of life in the garden for quite a while now, long before the calendar marked the arrival of a new season. Extending bloom time into the winter season is great fun, soul soothing, and easier than you might think.

In the Philadelphia area, Winterthur does an amazing job highlighting early spring bloomers and even has an area behind the mansion called the March Bank. H. F. du Pont started the March Bank in 1902 and it now features huge drifts of Galanthus (snowdrops), Leucojum (snowflakes), Crocus, Eranthus (Winter aconite), Chinodoxa (Glory-of-the-Snow), and Adonis among other bulbs.

I had the opportunity to visit Winterthur’s March Bank this year and was so impressed with the display I have already added some bulbs to my wish list for fall planting this year.

Galanthus are available in many different sizes and often have unique attributes that require close inspection. Who doesn’t love a plant that requires you to get on your hands and knees to admire and examine it? Eranthus emerge early and provide a little sunshine in flower form. These charmers are easy to grow and will seed around or can be moved to different parts of the garden.

A Galanthus (Snowdrop) surrounded by Eranthus (Winter Aconite).
A Galanthus with unique green markings


A Galanthus with hints of yellow – a very desirable trait.

Leucojum really make a statement in the garden. Their blooms are larger than Galanthus and they create a white carpet when planted in mass. Even when planted individually, Leucojum will cause a garden visitor to stop and view the amazing flowers.

A field of Leucojum (Snowflake) on the March Bank at Winterthur
Leucojum in the foreground and the Winterthur Mansion in the background.
A Leucojum flower up close

Crocus plants are available in a variety of colors and will self-seed and pop up in different locations. While this might annoy some, to me this is part of their charm. Most Crocus plants are also resistant to destruction by deer, squirrels and other critters. Glory of the snow bulbs are one of the first blooming plants to appear in spring. Members of the Lily family, these cuties produce beautiful snow kissed blooms. Winterthur uses Crocus and Chinodoxa (Glory of the Snow) in combination with a beautiful result.

Crocus and Chinodoxa (Glory of the Snow) planted together in drifts at Winterthur

Named after the Greek God of vegetation, Adonis plants sport feathery foliage and lovely yellow flowers. These plants are superb additions to any woodland setting. While sometimes difficult to find, they are worth seeking out.

A yellow flower surrounded by lacy green foliage
A gorgeous Adonis bloom surrounded by lovely, feathery green foliage

I hope you’ll consider adding some early bloomers to your garden this year. If you do, I’m confident you’ll enjoy years of pleasure when spring arrives early in your garden.


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