Garden Photo of the Day

Spring Blooms in a Small, Townhouse Garden

Treasures of the beginning of the season

Betsy Thompson has a small townhouse garden near Albany, New York.

These are some portraits of flowers blooming here this month. There are many more. It isn’t easy to choose which to include, so I thought it best to go for variety.

Tulipa turkestanicaThis is Tulipa turkestanica (Zones 4–8) an old and very reliable variety, fresh and distinctive.

Fritillaria raddeanaFritillaria raddeana (Zones 5–8) is a favorite flower of this type. Unfortunately, lily beetles love fritillaries as much as lilies. It has taken a lot of work to keep these plants since the beetles invaded my garden two years ago. (See Fine Gardening’s tips on controlling lily beetles.)

Pulmonaria 'Trevi Fountain'Pulmonaria ‘Trevi Fountain’ (Zones 4–9) is the largest of this type that I grow and is very attractive indeed! Also, my deer don’t eat it (I should probably add: so far!).

Muscari 'Valerie Finnis'Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’ (Zones 4–9) is especially sweet. It is also prolific, but I don’t find it invasive in the way the common grape hyacinth is.

Chionodoxa 'Pink Giant'Chionodoxa ‘Pink Giant’ (Zones 3–8) is a better-behaved variation on the invasive blue Chionodoxa. The white-flowering variety is also noninvasive.

Mertensia virginicaWhile the blue Mertensia virginica(Zones 3–8) is most often seen, this plant can also show a range of shades from blue to lavender to pink.

Iris x histrioides 'Katharine Hodgkin'The very earliest iris I know is Iris × histrioides ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ (Zones 5–9). It is best planted in groups of at least a dozen.

Helleborus 'Golden Lotus Strain'Helleborus ‘Golden Lotus Strain’ (Zones 5–9) is a different look for this genus.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/30/2020

    You have a lovely selection of early spring flowers. The color palette strikes me as gentle and serene...kind of like a soft mist. Nothing is screaming "Spring is HERE. Look at me!". Instead there are soft whispers of light blues and pinks, off whites and pale yellows. It's very calming.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/30/2020

    Spring bulbs are my absolute faves. Their bloom time doesn't last long here in the deep south so seeing yours brightens my day.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 04/30/2020

    Nice close up shots of spring in your garden!

  4. user-5117752 04/30/2020

    Wonderful photos! Such lovely plants! Such lovely thoughts!!!

  5. btucker9675 04/30/2020

    Just lovely...

  6. wittyone 04/30/2020

    That is an interesting note regarding the Iris × histrioides ‘Katharine Hodgkin’. "It is best planted in groups of at least a dozen."

    One of my many pet peeves in gardening catalogs is a pic of probably 30 or 40 small beautiful plants when the price of even just one is at least 6 or 8 dollars. I guess it does give one an idea of what some patience or lots and lots of disposable income can accomplish but I think it's somewhat misleading.

  7. davlinkun 04/30/2020

    Very nice and interesting

  8. bdowen 05/01/2020

    That small blue iris with the delicate yellow is just beautiful- the perfect spring plant to say "stop a moment and take a careful look!"

  9. coastalgardener 05/01/2020

    I love all those soft colors in your spring very calming and serene. Not many people in my area grow a large variety like you do because persistent cold weather until May doesn't encourage people to be outdoors enough to enjoy them.

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