February 2018

Spring is in the air

Spring bulbs are just one of the ingredients for a fragrant season. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

It’s easy to understand how the phrase ‘spring is in the air’ came to be.

You can smell it. From the spring bulbs to viburnums, lilacs and Cheddar pinks, the air is filled with fragrance for weeks.

You can see it. Spring flowers not only scent the air, they dazzle the eyes with color and texture along with the verdant greens of trees and shrubs.

You can hear it. Birds sing in the trees and bees buzz.

You can touch it and taste it. Lettuces, radishes and peas offer the first fruits of the new growing season.

Here are some spring favorites to consider for a landscape planted for the senses.

Viburnums, especially Burkwood (V. burkwoodii), Judd (V. juddii) and Koreanspice (V. carlesii) have beautiful, fragrant waxy flowers. They start out pink and turn white as they mature. Because the viburnums flower before nearby trees leaf out, the shrubs get enough light to bloom, yet tolerate a summer with filtered sun or part shade.

Mock orange (Philadelphus), sometimes called sweet mock orange, is a wonderful old-fashion shrub that deserves a place in the garden, even if its beauty lasts only for a few weeks. ‘Minnesota Snowflake’, ‘Natchez’ and ‘Dwarf Snowflake’ are good selections.

Lilacs, viburnum and fragrant spring bulbs perfume the season's air. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

For sunny spots, plant a lilac (Syringa). The old-fashion ones with the big flower cones are favorites for their colors and fragrance. Manchurian (‘Miss Kim’) and Korean (‘Paliban’) lilacs tend to bloom a little later with smaller flowers, but they are still fragrant and seemingly immune from the powdery mildew that plagues many old-fashion types.

Plant Dutch hyacinths (Hyacinthus) and fragrant tulips (Tulipa) and daffodils (Narcissus). ‘Angelique’ and ‘Apricot Beauty’ are two wonderful, long-lasting tulip selections. For daffodils, try ‘Geranium’, ‘February Gold’ and ‘Poeticus’.

No garden? Enjoy the scent of the season with a pot of pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) or stocks (Matthiola) from the garden center for the balcony or patio.


1 comment to Spring is in the air

  • irvin

    That DOES explain “Spring is in the air”. Never thought about it before. Thanks, Jo Ellen.