Garden Photo of the Day

Early Spring in Eastern Virginia

First signs of the new season

Hi GPODers! This is Joseph, your GPOD editor, and today we’re going to be visiting my garden in eastern Virginia, where spring is beginning to unfold.

We’ve had a very, very mild winter here in my part of Virginia, with no snow at all and no real cold weather, so the nonwinter has been slowly unfolding into spring, with lots of goodies on display. The winter may have been short and mild, but I’m eagerly enjoying every sign of spring and the new gardening season, and I promise myself that I’m going to plant a lot more early blooming stuff for next year.

Anemone coronariaAnemone coronaria (Zones 7–10) is just beginning to bloom. I’ve seen these in gardens around town and am thrilled that I planted the little bulbs last fall. I planted mostly blues and whites, but they come in all sorts of shades of red and pink and purple as well. I’ve seen them keep blooming well into May here, so I’m looking forward to a long display of flowers.

anemone foliageUnlike most bulbs you plant in the fall, the anemone put up foliage almost immediately, so I’ve had this very attractive greenery to look at all winter.

Pansies and violasPansies and violas are, of course, essential. These have been blooming nonstop since I planted them back in October.

Except for the ones that got eaten by deer. I have been spraying them with deer repellent, but I didn’t keep up on it regularly enough, and this is the result. I’m very annoyed. Another point for the anemone shown earlier: It hasn’t been bothered by the deer at all (at least not yet).

‘Goldilocks’ crocusThis little crocus (Crocus chrysanthus ‘Goldilocks’, Zones 4–8) was an impulse purchase last fall, and a good one. My only regret is that I didn’t plant more! I’m adding it to the list for this fall.

Tulips are just poking through the soil. I planted a LOT of tulips and am hoping for a good display. I’m spraying them with deer repellent religiously.

Camellia japonica ‘Silver Waves’Camellias are, of course, essential winter and spring bloomers for any Southern garden. I just moved to a new house less than a year ago, and the previous owner wasn’t a gardener, so I’ve got a lot of plants to add—especially camellias! This is Camellia japonica ‘Silver Waves’ (Zones 7–10), which is blooming in a container, waiting for me to decide where it is going to be living.

tree peonyFinally, a little anticipation: a tree peony (Peonia ostii, Zones 5–9) is already pushing new growth and has lots of fat, promising, flower buds. Peonies in general really do much better in colder climates, but my climate is JUST cool enough to get away with a few, especially the tree peonies.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/28/2020

    Great photos, Joseph. I must confess that the incredibly vibrant blue of that anemone bloom definitely unleashed my inner lust gremlin and, I love the look of its healthy foliage , as well. What a winner of a plant! Good luck deterring the deer from devouring your tulip display. We're rooting for them (meaning the tulips...not the deer) and you!

  2. user-5117752 02/28/2020

    8 o'clock Friday morning and I'm the first to post a comment. What a marvelous way to start the day and thank you for that! I live in Western North Carolina and we, too, have had a fairly mild winter. Some freezing temps have bent my blooming daffodils and all the blooms on the flowering Quinces have now been hit twice but I'm still chomping at the bit seeing the greens popping through the mulch. Simply can't understand why I haven't planted those beautiful anemones! Do post more pics as the season goes on!

  3. coastalgardener 02/28/2020

    Your post has me yearning for the same signs of spring up here in Plymouth, MA. I've not grown anemones before, but that intense blue just drew me in and has made me put that on my list of plants to add! Isn't it wonderful that your pansies and violas give you color all year long. Thanks for the glimpse into our gardening future for 2020...

  4. User avater
    bdowen 02/28/2020

    Joseph, thank you for letting us visit YOUR garden! The yellow crocus - how beautiful with the sunlight coming through the petals. I'm envious since my patches of crocuses have all been dug up and eaten by our hordes of chipmunks. I'm eager to plant pansies but it's not quite time. And I hope to remember anemones to plant next fall. Wonderful inspiration.

  5. Musette1 02/28/2020

    what a lovely time you'll have, planning your new garden! I don't have deer issues (130-lb dog, 6' fence and plenty of open gardens and farmland for them to peruse) but I am plagued by squirrels. And (maybe) voles - I know I have a mole or two but they eat the lawn grubs so I leave them alone - anyhoo ;-) I have one little planting of crocuses, in a terracotta pot sunk into my 5b garden. I put a 4' wire mesh cylinder over that pot, come early Spring and so far, so good. And I plant narcissus - lots and lots of narcissus.

  6. btucker9675 02/28/2020

    Oh, that anemone - what a color! And that crocus is like a small flame emerging from the earth. Lovely!

  7. paiya 02/28/2020

    Joseph, thanks for giving us peeks into your garden. Love the anemone and camellia. Hope will show us your garden as it progresses

  8. User avater
    simplesue 02/28/2020

    Mmmmm... Wondering if I could push the zone on that gorgeous Anemone coronaria from zone 7 to zone 6b!?!?!
    Just beautiful!

  9. Meelianthus 02/29/2020

    Hello Joseph ~ What fun to wander thru your gardens! The colors are amazing and how great you had such a mild winter.
    Spring is popping up all over here in WA state, although we did have our wettest month on record in January. I'm hoping things won't rot!! Thank you for sharing your signs of Spring and I hope we will see more of your gardens as the season progresses.

  10. pattyspencer 03/02/2020

    With the planting zones that moved up over the last several years it doesn't surprise me that you've gotten no snow and things are beginning to bloom. I'm in central Ohio and we use to be a 5 a/6 and we're now a 6 Gorgeous flowers

    1. pattyspencer 03/02/2020

      That should be 5a/b and not 5 a/6 lol

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