Garden Photo of the Day

Early Spring in Brigitta’s Garden

First blooms of the year

This is your GPOD editor, Joseph, and a few days ago I drove up to Michigan to visit my friend Brigitta Stewart. She runs a small mail-order nursery called Arrowhead Alpines, and her personal garden is packed to the gills with fascinating and beautiful plants. Most of the plants were still dormant, but there were still a lot beautiful things to see.

dark purple crocus flowersCrocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’ (Zones 3–8) is vigorous, has large, richly colored flowers, and is less attractive to squirrels than many species of crocuses.

small periwinkle flowersThis beautiful Hepatica (Zones 3–9) has huge flowers. Different species of hepaticas are native around North America, Europe, and Asia. They’re all beautiful, early spring bloomers that thrive in a woodland garden.

tree with light brown peeling barkPaperbark maple (Acer griseum, Zones 5–9) looks beautiful all year with its marvelous peeling bark.

light pink and white helleboresThere are hellebores (Helleborus hybrids, Zones 4–8) all over the garden, and they are at their peak in late winter and early spring. Brigitta has collected lots of wonderful varieties, and they have seeded themselves here and there in the garden as well.

clump of dark purple helleboresOn this, one of the most stunning hellebores in the garden, the new leaves emerge so dark that they are almost black, making quite a statement as they emerge.

small plant with speckled foliageThere are countless species of trillium in the garden, and some of the earliest to emerge are these Trillium cuneatum (Zones 4–8). They have dark purple-red flowers, but who needs blooms when you have these incredible patterned leaves?

small plants with white flowersTrillium nivale (Zones 3–6) is a tiny species that blooms incredibly early, beating early bloomers like crocuses. It is native to the Great Lakes region of North America.

iris with light green/yellow flowerIn the greenhouses can be found this wonderful tiny bearded iris (Iris pumila, Zones 3–8). Unlike the modern bearded iris hybrids, this is a species as you would find in nature, with each bloom a hard-to-describe blend of soft green and turquoise.

small plant with long pink flowersBack in the garden, Corydalis solida (Zones 4–8) blooms. This tiny bulb blooms early and thrives in a woodland garden.

light yellow hellebore with purple specklesThis isn’t the most vigorous of Brigitta’s hellebores, but it may be one of the most beautiful.


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  1. User avater
    simplesue 04/22/2022

    I like Brigitta’s Garden and her website Arrowhead Alpines, and such a cute slogan: "Rare Plants for Obsessive Gardeners"...I can relate to that LOL!
    Oh the Hepatica photo is just splendid- and I'm "obsessively" staring at it!
    The Trillium leaves are so pretty I don't even need to see a flower on it!

  2. btucker9675 04/22/2022

    Everything is so lovely - the color of the Hepatica is fantastic! Thank you for sharing this!

  3. wittyone 04/22/2022

    I've ordered from Arrowhead Alpines in the past. Good plants and a large selection. Love that hepatica----gorgeous color.

  4. [email protected] 04/22/2022

    A lovely post for Earth Day ! Love the Hepatica especially! Must research it to see how it would do in my garden. I'm such a sucker for gorgeous blue blooms. Thanks so much

  5. Meelianthus 04/23/2022

    Thank you Joseph for sharing your glorious garden trip. It's always a treat to see another gardeners beautiful plantings.

  6. user-5117752 04/23/2022

    I guess we're all stuck on Hepatica. Wonder if she'll be stuck on us? Thanks for sharing your visit. Lovely photos! Also, I must mention that I've never seen that color bloom on a Corydalis. Time to search the web.

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