Monday, April 12, 2010

April Blooms

Early Spring Flowers

It has been a long winter and a blustery early spring in the Northwest but flowers continue to pop up all around the city.  Daffodils are starting to close and fade and but these new blooms are next in line.

Iberis sempervirens

Iberis sempervirens, also called "candytuft" is an evergreen subshrub (low to the ground) that produces a blanket of bright white flowers in April and May.  Iberis sempervirens is a perennial in the brassicaceae family (along with cabbage, broccoli and kale).


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) thrives in the maritime Northwest.  Its evergreen sprigs can add culinary flavor all year but its purple flowers only emerge in the spring.  They are also edible and can have a more pungent flavor than the leaves. 


April is the time to find tulips bursting from all over the city.  Like daffodils, these perennials stand alone and add great color and diversity to your garden.  There are many varieties of these bright flowers and they can be recognized by their upright stance and bloom time.  Originating inTurkey, the name tulip derives from the Turkish word for turban (tulbend) and according to legend, tulip may have been passed along through a mistake in translation made by a Flemish diplomat in the 1550s.



The evergreen bergenia produces pink or white flowers in early spring.  Bergenia is native to Asia but is now commonly found in the U.S.  This perennial is also called elephant ears or pigsqueak (referring to the sound the leaves make when rubbed together).


Euphorbia blooms in early spring with a large round cluster of lime green flowers.  Euphorbia is part of the Euphorbiaceae family (the poinsettia is another famous member of this family).  It's a good idea to prune back euphorbia plants as soon as these blooms fade.


Photinia is a genus of plants in the Rosaceae family (rose).  Pictured above is the variety 'Red Robin' which is dense and evergreen and is known for its red colored new growth.  The new growth will turn green as it matures and white flowers will appear later in the spring.

Early Oriental Poppy

The beautiful Oriental Poppy doesn't usually arrive this early in the season but it's a reminder of what's to come in the early summer.  It's a perennial flower in the Papaveraceae family, originating in Asia.

Unique Cherry Blossom

Look closely at this cherry blossom to find both white and pink flowers!  It is a white flowering tree with a grafted pink flowering branch (there is an unpictured tree beside this one that is entirely pink).

The rightmost branch is the grafted section

For comparison, here is a picture of a newly grafted apple tree (using wax and plastic).  This is what the beginning of the cherry blossom graft might have looked like.


Tulip 'Juan'
The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners
Ask Cisco by Cisco Morris
The Bountiful Container by McGee and Stuckey

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