Early spring plant combos

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Gordo, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    As winter drags on, I can't help but think about and long for the onset of spring. I am especially looking forward to those plants in my garden which are the earliest to bloom. One plant combination, in particular, which I anticipate includes:
    Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star)
    Flowering Current (Ribes Sanguineum)
    Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum). I would appreciate any other suggestions for simple (3 - 4 plants & commonly available) combinations for spring. I am especially interested in plants to use in combination with Service Berries (Amelanchier Spp.)
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Daffodils.

    Winter hasn't been dragging on for me, something was in bloom at my place right through the end of 2005. Even here at friend's colder Island County property

    Camellia
    Grevillea
    Hamamelis
    Leptosperum
    Lonicera
    Mahonia
    Salix
    Viburnum

    and others are flowering or about to.

    Planting combinations books have many ideas. Most of these come from UK. In Seattle, look for titles by Twogood, such HILLIER GUIDE TO CONNOISEUR'S PLANTS and varuous others at CUH Miller Library. Usually at least a few in bookstores at any one time, these vary in usefulness. Be sure to thumb through and inspect carefully before purchasing (generally the thick ones will be most valued, having the most information--as long as they have GOOD information).
     
  3. Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor Active Member 10 Years

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    I vote for Osmaronia for it's greenery budding so early, Forsythia for it's sheer volume of blooms, Viburnum bodnantense for it's naked blossoms with heavenly scent and Snow drops for their bright deer proof tenacity despite bad weather.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Technical Note: Osmariona became Oemleria.
     
  5. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Very early bloomers, in addition to Ron's suggestions- corylopsis and stachyurus as shrubs, in combination with hellebores, iris reticulata, erythroniums, and trilliums. I don't know what amelanchier you have; ours (Autumn Brilliance) is in bloom in late March- early April, with erythroniums, trilliums, and many of our early rhododendrons.
     
  6. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    I like a combination I have under a large red Japanese maple of blue and white, the white coming from an Eastern bleeding heart, Sweet woodruff, Daffodils, Crocus, and Summer Snowflake bulbs. The blue comes from Grape Hyacinth, Glory of the Snow, other kinds of Scillia bulbs, Ajuga metallica crispa, blue Windflower Anemone, and a large Crater lake Rhododendron. There is a touch of pink with Lenten rose Hellebores and double lavendar primroses. This is also where I have my earliest crocuses with are the best antidote to spring fever ever. I would have many more except for the fact that I have to plant them in wire cages to keep the voles from eating them.
    Ron, it must be a warm zone 8 on that property to have Grevillea and Leptosperum.
    Which kinds of these seem particularly hardy and showy?
     
  7. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    In combination with Amelanchiers (A. canadensis, 'Autumn Brilliance, Robin Hill, 'Ballerina', 'Princess Diana'), I am liking the idea of using Mahonia or Berberis with blue bulbs listed above. I'm not sure, however, about coordinating bloom times. Would Mahonia Aquifolium be about right? - I'm curious about the variety 'Golden Abundance. Please keep other suggestions coming - I love it.
     
  8. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Gordo, you seem to be looking for yellow and blue to go with the white bloom of the amelanchier. It may be just a little late, but we have a great combo of Narcissus 'Hawera' (a dwarf) with scilla. Another great blue flowered plant is anenome blanda, and, just a little before that, anenome nemerosa. They often bloom around the same time as our Amelanchier. Earlier blooming, but fantastic for blue-violet color is Hepatica noblis.

    This photo was taken the same day our amelanchier was approaching full bloom-
     

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  9. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes. White, yellow, blue. Its funny, because I was just looking at Anemone Blanda. Now I'll have to check out your other suggestions. Thanks.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    >Ron, it must be a warm zone 8 on that property to have Grevillea and Leptosperum.
    Which kinds of these seem particularly hardy and showy?<

    Actually, those two are up on top of Camano Island where I have had problems with things being damaged that wouldn't be here near the water in Edmonds. The Grevillea is G. victoriae and the Leptospermum is L. lanigerum. Both acquired from Colvos Creek nursery, Vashon, WA. Their test garden, also on a not particularly mild site up on top of the island instead of in the beachfront banana belt, has grown attractive specimens of other kinds of tea trees and grevilleas as well.

    For another UBC thread with photos:

    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=1435&highlight=grevillea
     
  11. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    That Grevillea looks like a plant I would like to try, I will keep an eye out for one.
    I don't know Mahonia 'Golden Abundance' but it looks like a nice one. I have dealt with Mahonia 'King's Ransom' and I like it, it has interest all season and seems to be very easy to grow. I think it would be nice to have an evergreen in your planting. Blue and yellow is the classic spring combo for me. Along with daffodils the Siberian wallflower as been very easy and showy for me, pansies and Gold dust Allysum are easy too. I haven't had much luck with Anemone nervosa for some reason but I should try again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2006
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Nurseries will have potential partners on display at serviceberry flowering time, you can even take in a flowering branch and hold it up against plants on offer and see what clicks.

    Think about color and shape of the serviceberry parts, how these might relate to other plants. Purple new growth might be echoed by purple flowers underneath, like purple hyacinths or vinca, warm autumn foliage color might be cooled down with bluish conifer foliage or aster flowers and so on.
     
  13. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Very thoughtful reply, Ron. I agree with you that physical observations are often the best way to learn about plant characteristics. Its also beneficial to get new ideas that might not (most likely not) have occured. It is these ideas for new plants or new ways of using them that are so exciting to contemplate. Thanks.
     
  14. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Ron's mention of the coppery foliage reminded me of another plant that might work for you- Epimedium sulphureum. You'd get yellow flowers about the time the amelanchier is in bloom, then that great copper marked foliage as they both leafed out (I cut much of my "evergreen" epimedium foliage back at the same time as my hellebores so I can enjoy the flowers on their own).
     
  15. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Just thought I'd update this with a picture I took today. The Muscari and Royal Star Magnolia never fail to bloom together for me. I'll need to add more of the Grape Hyacinth & Daffodills this fall. Flowering Currants in this area are also in full bloom but still too small to show up much. I noticed that Epimediums are blooming elsewhere in the garden right now, so I may add these here too - thanks Terry.



    Royal Star Magnolia.jpg
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Molbak's parking lot has katsura tree underplanted with 'Firecracker' loosestrife, the new foliage of both having similar bronzy coloring.

    http://www.molbaks.com/
     
  17. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    Nice picture! I like the blue and white. The grape hyacinths will multiply on their own, but I agree about a few more daffodils.
     
  18. Luke Harding

    Luke Harding Active Member

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    Hi,
    I know this doesn't really help but I thought you may like to know. The winter here in Britain has been longer than normal and a lot drier. As a result the plants in my garden are all doing their thing at the same time, some delayed by months. I have a fab display of Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) just coming into bloom underneath a Prunus 'Pink Perfection', surrounded by wild Primrose, a few snowdrops and some Welsh Daffodils. The welsh Daffodils are a month late (Usually open on St Davids day - March 1st), Primroses often begin to appear in late Feb and the Hellebores and Snowdrops are usually a January thing.
    Anyone else had delayed flowers?
    Luke
     

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