“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” -Ellis Peters.
“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.” -Pablo Neruda.
Take a walk, a stroll, a bike ride, or a drive throughout your community or across these lands and witness the amazing colors of spring. However, with the current pandemic across our lands, stay local and re-create these visions by reading a book or studying plants on the internet.
In so doing as you learn more about plants, certain colors and characteristics will tend to attract you to specific plants, more so than others. Below are some plants that offer various qualities which help to beautify the landscape and grounds throughout this season and seasons to come.
Jasmine (Jasminum): There are very few vines that can challenge jasmine for appearance and fragrance. It is easy to grow and produces beautiful flowers (white or yellow) in clusters whose fragrance can be detected across the property. They bloom in late winter and early spring. However, the Arabian jasmine flowers throughout the year in many locations. Jasmines prefer full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soils. They can climb upward to 15 feet or more and are deer resistant.
Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla): Lemon verbena stands up to its namesake. It offers a strong lemony flavor filled with a most delicious citrus taste. Packed with this desirable citrus flavor, thinly sliced leaves of lemon verbena add spice and scent to foods such as fish, salads, steamed vegetables, fruits and desserts. Also, the leaves can be used in preparing a refreshing summer tea. Lemon verbena prefers light shade and benefits from selective pruning. This shrub which reaches 6 feet tall and spreads of 6 feet wide generally blooms in late summer and early fall with flowers that can be collected and enjoyed as lemon bouquets indoors. It is easy to grow and offers deer resistance. Verbena bonariensis (tall vervain) and Verbena incompta (Brazilian vervain) may be invasive.
Lilac (Syringa): Even though common lilacs become leggy and take up space, they can provide a lavish, green screen or can be selectively pruned into a shapely, small tree. New dwarf lilacs afford you the opportunity to utilize these exciting plants in space-restricted areas such as flower borders and in containers. The dwarf Korean lilac, among other newer hybrids, bring the lilac fragrance closer to your patio for your personal enjoyment. Lilacs are easy to grow and prefer sunny locations in well-drained soils. They are drought tolerant and attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Spirea (Spiraea): The delicate foliage and cascading branches of white or pink spring flowers make the spirea an excellent choice in the landscape bed. These characteristics bode well when designing it amongst the spring flowering bulbs. A traditional favorite among many gardeners is the bridal wreath spirea. Other cultivars offer attractive light-green or gold foliage which contrast effectively with purple-toned perennials and shrubs. Also, the compact spirea varieties serve well as mounding backdrops in those gardens with limited space. Spireas like full sun and prefer fertile, moist soils with good drainage. Spiraea japonica is invasive.
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia): Summersweet’s fragrant flowers bloom in late summer or early fall in spicy-scented white or pink clusters. Its dark green foliage turns bright yellow in the fall. It prefers partial shade and forms a colony of stems thus needing sufficient space to grow and develop. Summersweet is relatively easy to grow and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
Viburnum (Viburnum): Viburnums are very diverse in shape and foliage, thus offering special contributions to the landscape. Such contributions include attractive fall color, aromatic blooms, and clusters of colorful fruits which attract overwintering birds. Viburnums prefer sunny sites that are well drained. These drought tolerant, deer resistant plants are easy to grow and attract birds and butterflies.
Weigela (Weigela florida): Weigelas are characterized by their arching stems which are covered in bell-shape flowers from late spring to early summer. Many new cultivars offer showy foliage in shades of gold, green, white, and rose for a display of color lasting all season. Reaching upward from a compact size to heights of six feet, weigela prefers well-drained soils in full sun with sufficient moisture. These plants are drought tolerant and attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Yellow bells (Tacoma stans): Yellow bells like the heat and dry conditions. This tough plant has outstanding yellow trumpet-shape blooms from late spring through the fall. It can be grown as a shrub or in containers. Yellow bells prefer full sun to part shade and soils with good drainage. This drought tolerant plant attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
As you commit to the effort and cost of spring purchasing and planting of flowers and plants in your home landscape, please also commit to providing the necessary care in keeping plants healthy and attractive. Continue to think in terms of native and sustainable plants.
May the results of your immediate efforts be long-lasting so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for seasons to come. Remember to feed and water the songbirds, and give your pets the care they need. Be on the lookout for children playing and bicyclists riding along the streets and roadways throughout our communities, especially during these trying times. And remember to safely share the road with motorcycles. Drive alert and arrive alive. Don’t drive distracted or impaired, don’t text while driving, and “click-it” or ticket. Make only those drives to get medicines or groceries during these pandemic times of the coronavirus outbreak. Let’s keep everyone safe while enjoying the spring season!
Many thanks to all who read this column which is an effort to provide each reader with timely and useful information. It is a small contribution on my part in “paying it forward” to my readers. In keeping with this thought, many of you know that we are planning our annual mission trip to the Peru this June and some of you might want to join us on this discipleship journey. We are currently developing our team and raising funds to help finance this mission trip. If you feel led to do so and would like to donate to this cause, please make a check payable to Heritage Church and mail to Eddie Seagle, Peru Mission Team, 108 Tallokas Circle, Moultrie, GA 31788. We would appreciate your prayers for a safe journey as well, and many thanks to each of you. Join us if you can!
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20-21.
Direct inquiries to csi_seagle @yahoo.com.