Celebrate the end of cold weather with winter aconite, one of the first blooming plants you’ll see in your yard before spring actually arrives. It sometimes appears so early (before crocus!) that the buttercup-like flowers burst up and out of the snow. This plant catches the eye in beds and borders, along pathways, and when mixed with crocus and other ephemerals in the lawn.
Squill announces a new garden season with bursts of dark green grasslike foliage. The leaves seem to emerge overnight in early spring. The tufts of foliage are quickly followed by arching flower stalks that support one to three nodding blue or white flowers. These tiny blossoms decorate the garden for two to three weeks and, when planted in large masses, they can be enjoyed from a distance. A welcome early-season nectar source for bees and insects, squill—also called Siberian squill—attracts winged visitors with its sweet fragrance.
Split-cup daffodils are so named because varieties in this division have a central cup that's cut -- usually for more than half its length. They are sometimes called butterfly daffodils because the split sections of the cup fold back against the petals, resembling spread butterfly wings.
In other respects, split-cup daffodils resemble standard trumpet or large-cup daffodils. They bear one flower per stem and come in the full range of daffodil colors: white, yellow, pink, orange, and bicolor. Some varieties are fragrant, and all are resistant to deer and rabbit damage.
With strappy leaves and clusters of elegant lavender-blue flowers, Spanish bluebell blossoms dangle from spikes, adding a casual look to garden beds or borders. These pendant-style bells flourish under trees or shrubs or in shady borders, where early spring color is at a premium. Spanish bluebells have a loose, informal growth habit and more delicate appearance than their cousins, the hybrid hyacinths. Plant them in any well-drained soil and watch them take off.
Spanish bluebells tolerate shade, flourishing under trees or shrubs or in shady plantings alongside other spring-blooming bulbs. When they’re happy, these cheerful little bulbs can self-seed abundantly, forming large colonies in just a few years. They make delightful companions for early-blooming perennials and shrubs such as hellebore and azalea.