Spring’s Raw Beauty


Every year, spring’s early visitors often ask what time of the year is my favorite in the Gardens. This never allows for a quick answer, because each season hold its own special charms here. Inevitably though, my answer is always early spring.

The landscape of late March and early April appears raw, even barren. However, a closer look reveals stunning beauty, small oases of texture and color that stand out in stark contrast to the still-dormant landscape. Compared to the riotous colors and abundance of summer, these seemingly minimal expressions of early flora, pushing through dry brown leaf litter, are certainly understated at first glance. But upon closer inspection, they are a lovely, ethereal feast for the eyes. 

Here are some of my favorite early-spring bloomers that are gracing the Gardens this week. They all share a few common traits in that they are perennial bulbs, are deer resistant and bloom in late March through April.

Glory of the snow flower
Chionodoxa luciliae (Common name: Glory of the Snow); Native to Eastern Mediterranean
Winter Aconite flower
Eranthis (Common name: Winter Aconite); Native to Southern Europe
Katharine Hodgkin reticulated iris
Katharine Hodgkin reticulated iris; Native to Western Asia
Striped Squill flower
Puschkinia scilloides (Common name: Striped Squill); Native to Turkey, Iran, and Lebanon
Siberian Squill flower
Scilla siberica (Common name: Siberian Squill); Native to southwest Russia and Turkey

~Lesley Paxson (photos courtesy of author)