Spring is about new beginnings. Young leaves, free of blemishes, pop out of the ground. Early bloomers are abuzz with pollinators. Fluffy, freshly turned soil awaits my plantings. I’m like a child re-discovering plants I haven’t seen since last year – reacquainting myself with their growth habits and flowers. How exhilarating it is to explore my little piece of paradise in June! I must have forget-me-nots in my flowerbeds. I allow them to go to seed so I can have volunteers the following year. The tiny blooms are the color of a clear blue sky. This year, I have white flowers that have appeared as well. Hostas are unfurling their leaves, spreading their wings, preparing to fill a space and make a statement. One of my favorite hostas, June Fever, has thick, chartreuse, shiny, slug-resistant leaves. It’s can be seen from across the yard.

Sky-blue forget-me-nots are a must have early bloomer

Hosta, June Fever, lights up the shade

Moss phlox is an all-around great perennial in my Zone 3-4 garden. This plant tolerates an exposed, raised bed that dries out in the summer and is whipped with cold winds in winter. The plant takes a beating and then rewards me with masses of flowers – so many that I can barely tell there are leaves on the plant. When blooms are gone, fine foliage creates an impressive groundcover. Another plant that’s amazing people walking by my roadside garden is dwarf iris (Iris pumila). It doesn’t bloom for very long but when it does, it’s remarkable. The delicate, purple petals may fool the casual observer but this plant is tough! It can survive exposure to road salt, drought conditions, and beating sun.

Moss phlox is a must-have perennial for cold-climate gardens

The delicate blooms of dwarf iris belie the fact that this is one tough plant

Why have fences when you can have flowering shrubs in your landscape? Shrubs can act as physical and visual barriers. They add color and scents as well. These low-growing shrubs make perfect fences. Fothergilla is an all-season wonderful shrub. Springtime features white bottlebrush flowers, dark green summer foliage is pest and disease-free and multi-colored fall foliage is dazzling. Quince is a shrub I avoided for a long time because I was put off by the color of the orangey-pink flowers until I discovered some of the new introductions. The impressive scarlet, rose-shaped blooms on this quince make it one of the most asked-about plants in my garden. The flowers last for over a month and, most of all, I love the color!

The bottlebrush flowers of fothergilla cover the shrub

Scarlet flowering quince gets attention