'Canyon Snow' Pacific Coast hybrid iris
Photo/Illustration: Dave Demers
In many parts of the world, the extremely short period between the melting of the last bits of snow and the first waves of heat is, by far, the most intense and thrilling time of the year. As a youth, I endured lengthy winters in the Quebec countryside, where my only solace was the plant catalogs I received in the mail, fueling my longing for spring. The May frenzy I would eventually put myself through didn’t help my reputation as an odd, slightly challenged child. I have since settled on the milder West Coast, where a much calmer spring gently rolls in as the holidays are left behind, peaks over a couple of months, and then seamlessly merges into summer.
Wherever spring is anxiously awaited, early-flowering perennials can be trusted for a colorful celebration. Some spring bloomers are long-lasting, putting on a show for months on end, while others are ephemeral, leaving us almost as quickly as they came. No matter how long they last, each of the following spring bloomers deserves a spot in your garden. These are a few of my favorite vernal gems, sure to infuse life into the garden after the winter finally melts away.