Garden Photo of the Day

Visiting Spring in North Carolina

Previewing the season in a warmer climate

close up of Cyclamen with pink flowers

Hi GPODers—it’s your editor, Joseph, here.

Last week I took a trip down from my home in northern Indiana to Raleigh, North Carolina, and got a little prelude of spring. At home we’re still in the snowdrop stage of things, but down in Raleigh things were growing and blooming.

mass planting of Helleborus foetidusI stopped by the JC Raulston Arboretum, and right in the parking lot I was greeted by this beautiful mass of Helleborus foetidus (Zones 5–9) in full bloom. The flowers might not be as colorful as some of the hybrid hellebores, but I really love them. The finely cut, dark green foliage looks great every day of the year and contrasts so beautifully with the light green flowers.

close up of green hellebore flowersEach nodding green bloom is edged with a line of purple that I love.

close up of bright purple iris flowersIris unguicularis (Zones 7–9) blooms super early in mild climates and is one of my very favorites. The flowers are huge compared to those of other early-blooming plants like crocus or snowdrops. And they smell good too!

small plant with silver foliage growing in a crevice gardenI spotted this little treasure in the crevice garden. It is Tetraneuris acaulus ‘Las Vegas’ (Zones 5–9). It has no flowers yet, but who needs them when the foliage is this beautiful?

close up of Cyclamen with pink flowersThis hardy winter-blooming Cyclamen coum (Zones 5–9) looks gorgeous in the shade garden.

bright yellow and orange daffodilsWho can resist a sunny clump of daffodils?

walking path through a forest in winterI also took a hike in Umstead State Park, just up the road. At first glance, it still looked pretty wintry there . . .

small evergreen plant with bud about to bloom. . . but look what I found—a little hepatica (Hepatica americana, Zones 4–9) in bud and about to bloom! I love these little wildflowers. They bloom so early, and as you can see, the foliage stays evergreen and attractive all winter long.

close up of small purple flowersThis shot is from last year, but it likely represents what that little hepatica will look like soon once the flowers fully open.

What signs of spring are you seeing in your gardens?


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. nwphilagardener 02/27/2024

    Thanks, Joseph! Compelling closeups of interesting plants. The Helleborus foetidus really looks rich when planted in a drift. I often have seen them looking a bit gangly or floppy when a single specimen is in bloom.

  2. MohawkValley 02/27/2024

    Nothing like going out "hunting" for those first colors of spring .

    Here in the Mohawk Valley of NYS , we will see 60 degrees today and tomorrow ! Next week looks quite similar in the forecast . Plants and fruit trees are going to get confused and that's not all that of a positive thing in some regards . Fingers crossed ...

  3. User avater
    simplesue 02/27/2024

    Oh that wooded path is so alluring, and to find that little Hepatica along the trail is such a nice surprise! Nice spring preview post.

  4. btucker9675 02/27/2024

    I'm in the Charlotte NC area and have a few hyacinths up and blooming, and some jonquils and species tulips. I always walk around warning my plants not to push too hard since we may be some frosty weather again! The photo of the cyclamen makes me so happy!

  5. [email protected] 02/27/2024

    Thanks, Joseph. Nice to see an area of the country I've never visited. Our winter in Maple Valley Washington seems really erratic! Up in the 50's and almost 60, then snow and ice, and back to rain, but really cold. I wonder if my plants are as confused as me. But I see that I need to plant lots more hellebores- that planting bed is awesome!

  6. MohawkValley 02/28/2024

    First crocus --- a yellow one , in central NYS and we're not even in March yet ! This is a first for me at my home of 44 years !

  7. Tz_Garden 02/28/2024

    Nice preview post!

  8. Tingshu99 03/01/2024

    The hepatica flowers are so pretty and delicate. I will search if I can plant one in my 5b garden, or in a pot.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Shop the Store

View All Products