The First Flowers of Spring: Helloborus “Emma” Picture

early spring flowers
Spring Promise “Emma”

I have never grown a helleborus in my yard until this year. I bought two of this type of perennial last fall and put them out front.   I was looking for plants that like shade and these were in the shade lovers section at the nursery.

It’s late April as I write this and both the Lenton Rose and Spring Promise (pictured) have numerous flowers. The blooms tend to droop and face downward but the leaves stayed on all winter long! I did have to trim a few of the dead leaves to clean it up, but they do seem to be very hardy.

This one called “Emma” has such pretty flowers and the other one I planted has more greenish blooms. I’m glad I have added these to my landscape. It’s nice to go outside so early in the season up here in New England and see flowers! Not even my tulips have bloomed yet.

My Three Favorite Perennials For Shade

white astilbe
White Astilbe – Shade Lover

It’s not easy to grow a shade garden.  Some hydrangeas will do well in shade, but I am not talking about those here.  This post is about the smaller perennials that can fill a shade garden.  The flower variety of shade loving plants is limited even more than the plants that are available.  Most things that will grow under trees or in gardens that are on the shady side of a house are pretty dull looking in my opinion.  I love a garden with variety, so I am always on the lookout for something new to plant in the yard and I’m always thrilled to find a nice looking, shade loving shrub.

Still, I revert back to my favorite three basic choices when buying for the shade.

#1. Bleeding Heart –  This is an amazing plant.  It is so delicate that it breaks easily, yet sends out long leafy stalks with loads of little, heart-shaped flowers that dangle from the greenery.  It seems so fragile, yet each year it survives the icy cold winters underground and grows back in Spring.

#2. Astilbe  – I think this is a favorite of many when it comes to planting for shade.  I am new to growing this plant, but I plan to have many of them in my garden under the trees.  They have tall feathery flowers in white, red and pink and their leaves can vary from color to color.

#3.  Hostas – Of course.  Who has a shade garden without including hostas?  Last year I planted a variety of hostas in my large, front yard garden.  It’s too early in the season to see them sprouting yet, but I look forward to watching them get larger and larger.  Hostas are mainly grown for the leaf coloring and size, even though they do send up tall shoots with tiny flowers on them.

This little one I found last year at the local nursery is called “Mouse Ear”.

mouse ear hosta
Mouse Ear Hosta