Hyacinthus Blue Jacket’ and Helleborus orientalis in front garden.

With the exception of everything blooming nearly a month early, this is a typical Cleveland spring – cold and rainy with some very warm, teasing temperatures in between.

There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get out for weeding and pruning in between the rain drops. Meanwhile, the garden is exploding with color so I’m just going to share some delights with you.

I love the color blue and on April 1, I walked outside to find Hyacinthus ‘Blue Jacket’ in full bloom in front of the Helleborus orientalis that has seeded and sported over the years so that I now have both pink and white blooms.

Hyacinthus ‘Top Hit’ and Scilla siberica specifically planted among scythed Miscanthus.

When I planted Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’ in 1994, we gardeners were not aware that Maiden Grass can be invasive. Fortunately, this one has not been; I have never found a single seedling. I love its texture and its presence during the winter but since it does regain its stature until early summer, I have deliberately planted hyacinths and Squill among them in order to have some early spring color.

Berberis ‘Midnight Ruby’, Hyacinthus ‘Pink Pearl’ and ‘Jan Bos’.

I try to use color echo whenever possible. In this instance, I have a barberry that was bred to be sterile and its ruby color in one of my south-facing hills is echoed with Hyacinthus ‘Pink Pearl’ and ‘Jan Bos

Pink cones of Picea abies ‘Acrocona’; 18405 fence bed; 4/15/24

I have an assortment of conifers sprinkled throughout my beds. My favorite is probably Picea abies ‘Acrocona’ because of its pink cones, so different than the usual. In the past few years, they have been the usual spruce color – tan. So disappointing! I decided to try adding aluminum sulfate under it, assuming that perhaps it needed more acidic soil to produce pink cones. Lo and behold, this year they are pink again. Hooray!


Saruma henryi and Lamiastrum galeobdolon in my shade garden.

The hardy gingers are a wonderful addition to the shade garden but most of them do not have lovely flowers. An Asian ginger, Saruma henryi (Saruma is a rearrangement of Asarum), has attractive, clear yellow flowers in Spring and then reblooms throughout the summer. I initially regarded it as a waste of money but over the years, the clump has enlarged and it has reseeded throughout the shade garden.

Fritillaria meleagris and ‘Alba’

Over the years, I’ve added lots of bulbs to the garden to extend the length of time that the garden is in bloom and to emphasize certain colors. The fritillarias are not as well known as many other genus but are reliably hardy. In this instance, I planted Fritillaria meleagris, both the species and the cultivar ‘Alba’ in front of a hydrangea that won’t bloom for at least two more months.

I hope your gardens are giving you as much joy as mine is giving me. (As a bonus, everything I’ve shown you is impervious to deer.)