Start Spring Right

Photos (from left to right): Ann E. Stratton; ‘White Swirl’ Siberian iris, Nancy J. Ondra; and Danielle Sherry

Although it always seems to take a while to get here, spring is the best time to be a gardener. The air is turning mild, plants are returning full of vigor, and everything is yet to come. This first season of the garden is also the time to do anything and everything. With the exception of pruning early bloomers, spring is the right time for almost any garden task: cutting back, redesigning, building, planting, dividing—you name it.

Spring is also the time for a large number of plants to bloom. Starting with bulbs (which you should have planted last fall!) like daffodils (Narcissus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) and perennials like hellebores (Helleborus spp. and cvs., Zones 4–8), you can have flowers in your garden from the last chance of snowflakes to the first time you think about turning on the air conditioner.

If any of your projects involve digging plants up, this is the perfect time to do it. Your plants will have a few seasons to get established again before having to go through winter dormancy. So redesigning a bed or rearranging your combinations are ideal tasks for this time of year. The same is true of propagating—especially if you want to divide your plants. With most of the growing season left to come, you will also be able to see the results of your labors before next year (and perhaps realize that you need to fix some arrangements in fall).

With so many plants flowering in spring, it can be easy to miss some truly amazing plants. This collection will introduce you to many of them and show you how to arrange them. We will also show you how to use pansies, the quintessential annual for adding charm to an early-season bed. And spring is actually a great time to plant bulbs that will bloom in spring and fall. If you have some shady beds, this is the time of year they strut their stuff, and we will show you a few gems you might want to add to make the season even more special.

So take advantage of the season, and remember that in spring, everything is possible.