I think spring has come about two weeks before normal this year, and the non-edibles I planted last spring have noticed. I’m happy to say all my shrubs have survived the winter! The lilac, both viburnums, oak leaf hydrangea and four standard hydrangeas are all leafing out nicely – the lilac best of all. The three peonies have started sending up shoots, and even seem to have spread a little!

Lilac, Fern, Bleeding Heart and Scout

And though the two-year old bulbs I planted last fall didn’t fare well (just one tulip popped up,) most of the rest of my native perennials have popped back up. Astilbe, columbine, hosta, wild geranium and bleeding heart are all pretty advanced. Two of my ferns stayed green even under the winter snow, and are thriving, but one seems to have died. I’ll wait a little while before I give up on some of the other perennials that haven’t peeked out yet, but the Lenten rose I most anticipated doesn’t appear to have made it. But I was surprised by the first bloom in the garden four days ago – a beautiful Pasqueflower that I had picked up last summer on clearance.

Pasque Flower

Plant failures are never fun, but they do create some opportunity for trying new ones – which is a premium when space is so limited. Now that I know approximately when things bloom, I can fill in some gaps with new perennials to ensure three seasons of color in the native shade garden.

Bleeding Heart