With the warm weather, even though the nights are cold, and there is a bit of frost, we are having an early spring show on the flowering trees this year. Prunus mume is the first, then comes Prunus ‘Okame’ a hybrid with glowing neon pink blooms in profusion, the early group of magnolias and michelias(nowplaced into magnolia), and the large group of purple leaf flowering plums/cherry plums (Prunus cerasifera and cvs.), We cannot forget the fruit trees as well. Early bloomers like apricots, apriums, plums, pluots, peaches are showing color as well. Later will come many more favorites like flowering cherries and crabapples. Signs of new growth are everywhere and most apparent in the early bloomers, things like roses, hydrangeas and tree peonies are also tempting fate with soft new growth. (these are shrubs of showy blossoms later in spring, but need to be mentioned since they are commonly used ornamentals in growth or very special rare landscape subjects. Camellias should be included here as well, in great age they are trees, but many are shrubs for 50 years plus. With all the blossoms and the early warmer weather, it is easy to forget the calendar date and also to dismiss the chances of a hard frost. I tend toward caution, even with the hasty growth coming on a lot of species now. Experience has shown me all to strongly that hard frost can eliminate all that soft growth. So be cautious in what you plant now, and if cold temp. warnings come, do what you can to protect the soft growth. And by all means enjoy the early blossoms! A tree in full bloom is a glorious harbinger of spring!…. and we have only just begun the season.
Just take a look around to see the early blooms and see what other gardeners have done to enhance the tree blossom display. Associated plantings with azaleas and other shrubs, and daffodils, narcissus, and other spring bulbs give greatly to make the bloom display even more spectacular. Don’t forget flowering quince and forsythia, they provide lots of color now with the trees and are tough as nails hardy and easy care.
All the aforementioned make excellent cut flowers for the vase, or a bouquet to give.