Garden Photo of the Day

A Garden Waking Up

Spring on Long Island

Erika Shank of Amagansett, New York, sent these images of her garden as it awakens for the spring:

I garden in close proximity to the ocean, which keeps the temperatures much cooler this time of the year. On top of it, we experienced a very cold March and April. The last snowstorm was on April 2. It felt like winter was never going to leave. However, even though much later than a year ago . . . bulbs, plants, foliage started to emerge better than ever. The natural cycle of growing is not to be stopped, ready to shine! Our patience has been rewarded by exuberant blooms like Prunus subhirtella, which has never flowered like this before!

So I am thrilled to witness the start of a new season. A feast for the eye and refreshment for the soul! Can’t wait to see how the peonies will perform this year.

Front garden with white masses of star magnolia (Magnolia stellataZones 5–9) in bloom in the background.

Magnolia stellata close up. The numerous narrow petals give this plant the common name of star magnolia.

Front walk with dark hellebore (Helleborus orientalis, Zones 4–8) flowers and contrasting light-colored daffodils.

Narcissus ‘Salome’ is one of the pink daffodils, which can be inconsistent in color. The best pink tones (as seen here!) develop when they have a little light shade and cool temperatures. Another benefit of this long delayed, cool spring.

Emerging foliage of Ligularia dentata ‘Brit Marie Crawford’ (purple-leaved ligularia, Zones 4–8).

Prunus subhirtella (Higan cherry, Zones 4–8) puts on a show. This plant apparently loved the cold spring, as it is blooming like never before. Is there anything more cheerful than bright pink flowers against a rich blue sky?

Wood anemones (Anemone blanda, Zones 4–8) blooming in shades of blue and white.

Primula kisoana (Zones 5–10) is an easy-to-grow primrose for shade.

Primula kisoana seeding itself among the hellebores.

Primula elatior (oxlip primrose, Zones 5–8) is one of the wild ancestors of the colorful hybrid primroses. The flowers may be smaller than those of its more common decedents, but it has its own grace and is much more vigorous and reliably perennial in most climates.


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View Comments


  1. flowerladydi 05/17/2018

    Great photos Erika!,,,,I absolutely LOVE your front brick walkway,!,,, so charming,,, the daffs,, and Hellebores are just great! I can never get enough Hellebores! I can only imagine how great it all looks when the trees have leafed out and act like what looks like a canopy over the area,, Love Brit Marie,, and such great primula's!~ Such a beautiful piece of property! I would love to see more!

  2. Maggieat11 05/17/2018

    Your gardens are lovely! How big of a property do you have? The photo showing your front path... absolutely enchanting! Thank you very much for sharing your photos with us! Beautiful.

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    treasuresmom 05/17/2018

    Everything is gorgeous!! Love you magnolia.

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    meander_michaele 05/17/2018

    Good morning, Erika. Your photos show a spring that was certainly worth the wait. And,yes, what a thrilling sight that blossom filled cherry is...a literal pink cloud of delicate beauty. And, yum, yum, on that luscious dark foliage of the 'Brit Marie Crawford'...I'm not familiar with what its flowers look like (google search is only a minute away to find out) but those leaves are stand alone gorgeous.

  5. cheryl_c 05/17/2018

    Hi, Erika, you photos are fabulous, and your gardens even more so. I love all the primroses - I don't think we can grow them here because we get hot so quickly, but I'm really tempted to try P. elatior after seeing yours! We call our star magnolia our 'daisy tree'; it actually bloomed early and had just finished when we got another of those late freezes. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Sunshine111 05/17/2018

    Beautiful! Primula kisoana is one of my favorites also. I will have to look into the yellow variety because that one is missing in my garden. Thanks for sending in your lovely photos!?

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