We all know about early spring blooming daffodils and crocus but there are some delightful perennial flowers that bloom early, even if there is still some snow on the ground. The early spring blooming flowers typically do not like heat, so are found in the shady areas or under the canopy of deciduous trees and they go dormant when summer temperatures rise.
Hellebores, which are also called the Christmas Rose, are the most common winter blooming flower. Coming in several different colors and sizes these winter blooming flowers provide much needed interest in late winter. Dusty pinks and creamy whites are the predominant flower colors held above dark green leaves which stay above ground most of the year. Hellebores are also very hardy, withstanding even zone 4 winters.
No cottage garden would be without cowslips and primroses which bloom about the same time as early daffodils. Both of these plants like part sun conditions and will go dormant when summer arrives. Cowslips have a cluster of small yellow flowers held above a rosette of medium green leaves. The primrose has larger flowers than cowslips and they are held much closer to the ground. Primulas can be found in pinks, yellows and dark blues.
Winter aconite, eranthis, is a bright yellow perennial that prefers shady areas but will tolerate sunny locations too. The yellow buttercup-like flowers are held on short stems above fresh green leaves and look particularly at home peaking through un-raked leaves at the edge of a wooded area.Use these winter blooming perennials in areas close to the home so that you can see them even if the weather is still wintry. Mix them with ferns and hostas in a shade garden, or with other perennials in a cottage garden. The plants are not bothered by insects or disease and are generally not bothered by animals – even deer!