Use these reliable bloomers to welcome spring to your Midwest garden.
My favorite early spring flowers emerge from the mulch (and sometimes the snow) under a big oak in the backyard.
Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis bloom in late February to serve as harbingers of warmer months ahead.
Hepatica acutiloba 'Alba' is usually next, with it's sparkling white flowers, barely an inch across, that bloom for several weeks.
Epimedium varieties send up a mist of yellow blooms just as the daffodils appear.
Giant snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii) dangle like pearls from bright green stems.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) flowers, with their silky white petals, appear around the first of April.
Brunnera macrophylla spreads gracefully among other plants. The tiny flowers are pretty forget-me-not blue.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise') comes into bloom in late February. The unusual, bright yellow flowers look like tiny party streamers.
Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) seems too fragile for spring, but it's a tough plant and blooms prolifically.
Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum) forms a marvelous colony, with bell-like flowers on arching stems.
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is surprisingly mobile, sometimes coming up in the cracks of the driveway. Wherever it appears, I'm happy to see it.