by guest blogger Mark Gilson

Early rising flowers in January

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

Happy New Year everyone!

My office is on the back porch of the Gilson homestead-turned-office, a very old home. I remember when I was applying for the job and my boss told me where I would work and I was thrilled! In spring and summer I am surrounded by windows, trees, birds and flowers! Later I watch the maples and sycamores and dawn redwoods take on autumn hues. In the winter…I’m the figure in a tiny snow globe!

Here are a few early bloomers that will turn your thoughts to spring!

Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) – The dainty fern-like foliage that is covered in fuzz emerges first, followed by these incredible flowers that seem to last and last! From deep purple to paler shades, they stand proudly above the foliage and I can just hear them saying “Hey Looky here…I’m back”! Sometimes these beauties will bloom in February in our greenhouses! These do well for me in the shade where the soil is evenly moist. They can tolerate more sun but will tend to cook a bit in the heat of summer. Plants only reach a height of 10? tall but they are a very worthy addition to your garden.

Lenton Rose (Helleborus) – These are VERY early risers often blooming through the snow! Their dark lustrous foliage remains evergreen some years. The flowers come in a multitude of colors from white to burgundy and everything in between; they can be single or double, nodding or upright…depending on the cultivar! Hellebores require full sun to part shade and reach a height of 12-15? with the flowers reaching above the foliage. Once established, they can provide a solution for those tough areas in dry shade. A new variety to try this year in “Banana Cream Pie” which is a long bloomer and sports very healthy, robust foliage!

Bloodroot (Sanguinariacanadensis)
My aunt shared some of hers years ago and now I have a healthy batch! You have to be quick to see this bloom! I watch out my window every day as soon as the weather breaks because if I don’t…I may miss it! The large leaves spring from the soil in early spring (most times before any of us have even had a chance to venture out!) and are literally wrapped tightly around the flowers. Then one day….the flowers appear and you know spring is here! The flowers only last a few days but what a sight for winter-tired eyes! Plant in a shady area and the foliage will stay nice all season long. Makes a nice ground cover. My aunt took the picture above while she watched them bloom!

About Mark Gilson

President of Gilson Gardens, Inc, a third-generation nursery and garden center located on North Ridge Road in Perry, specializing in perennials, ground covers and native plants, also offering a full line of container plants, grasses, shrubs, vegetable plants and annual flowers.

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