Early Season Color in the Garden

This blue jar adds color and interest to the garden all year. Daffodils are a welcome sight in spring.

Early season color in the garden is something all gardeners strive to achieve.  Particularly here in Spokane, where the long, cold, wet springs tend to bring gray days more often than most parts of the country.  (in the 40’s and cloudy here today while much of the country is hitting 80 degrees).  Select early season performers and it will help you weather the long, cool spring.   

There are many ways to accomplish early season color.   

  1.  Evergreen plants provide interest.   The simple addition of a bright gold or blue conifer can make a big change in the landscape.  
  2. Bulbs planted in fall provide early spring color.  Daffodils bloom early and brighten even a garden viewed in the distance.
  3. Perennials cover a wide range of bloom seasons.   Early perennials like Hellebore, Bergenia, Doronicum, Arabis, and so on give color in April and before in some climates.
  4. Annuals such as pansies can give early bloom and tolerate frost.  Snapdragons, Dusty Miller and Cordylines all take frost.   The snaps won’t bloom this early, but they can get started before the other annuals.
  5. Containers provide color all year.  The colorful glazes are a bright spot in the spring garden.  Plant bulbs and pansies for early color, then switch to the more showy annuals.
  6. Succulents like Sedum ‘Angelina’ (gold/orange foliage), Delosperma nubigenum (pink winter foliage), and Sempervivum (a big range of colors) can add early interest as well.

To illustrate these points, I’ll provide some photos below.  It is a two ideas in one photo for the daffodils and blue pot at the beginning of the article.  If you want early season color in the garden, just follow these points and let us help you create a 4 season garden.

Heucheras have evergreen foliage and come in a range of colors, many of which will brighten a spring garden. Click to enlarge photo.

Hellebores come in many colors and are one of the first to bloom in the garden.

Viola ‘Etain’ and pansies and such can take the frost and start the show early.

This primrose is both spectacular and early blooming. ‘Amethyst Ice’