The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Tulip Time!

Ah, happiest of flowers. While daffodils proclaim the end of winter, spring officially arrives with the first tulip's delicious burst of color.

There's something about tulips that I find to be soul-soothing. Gray, rainy day? Brighten it with tulips. Boss getting you down? Cheer yourself with tulips on your desk. Taxes making you question why you don't live in Switzerland? Get outside and cut some tulips to forget your checkbook blues.

I mean, really--how can you be cranky looking at these pastel beauties?

Tulips require closer inspection. From a distance, the hues beckon, but their real beauty is usually hidden inside.

Last month, I didn't have the heart to play along with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, sponsored by May Dreams Gardens. While I found a few blooms, it still felt so winter-like in the garden. Suddenly, though, it seems I find a new bloom every day.

Bleeding heart, how I love you. I promise to move the dozens of daffodils that threaten to invade your personal space. A plant that's as gorgeous as you deserves room to breathe.

While snowdrops are just a memory, summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum) flourish and multiply in our spring garden. Aren't their little bell-shaped blooms adorable?

The first iris of the season stunned me this afternoon. After a quick camera tour of the garden this morning, trying to beat the rain, I thought I'd captured all of the blooms. However, as I looked out the office window later today, I spotted a plop of yellow in the front center bed. This morning, there was no hint that I'd see a bloom today.

Isn't nature amazing? A little rain, a little sun, and pow--here's a nice, big blossom for you!

Can you smell it? With these lilacs, I wish we'd invented scratch-and-sniff computer monitors. The wimpy blossoms on the bush belie the incredible fragrance. I truly miss the lilacs of my childhood. In the colder Indiana climate, our hedge of lilacs produced so prolifically that my mom always snipped vases full of blooms for the kitchen table. It's a scent of my youth.

Every year, when the first columbine appears, I curse myself for not planting dozens. I mean, really--it's darling. Why didn't I plant more? Must remedy this immediately.

New to our garden this year are the blooms of Fritillaria assyriaca. I'd seen Fritillaria meleagris used brilliantly in a bouquet, but it was sold out when I ordered. Instead, I kind of like the muted shades of this one--very subtle. (Almost too subtle for a garden bed, but I think it might be nice in an arrangement.)

While not blooming yet, our azaleas are just about to pop. I think we'll see blooms by the weekend.

As subtle as Fritillaria assyriaca is, the blooms of our loropetalum scream for attention. There's nothing reserved about these blooms or the shrub itself, as the foliage also provides deep, flamboyant color in the landscape.

Also about to pop is the baptista. The soft yellow spires add some height to the front walk perennial bed, and when fully opened, they'll add a nice splash of color just in time as the tulips fade.

Almost obnoxious in its amount of blooms is our viburnum.

Honestly, with its abundant fall and spring shows, I'm challenged trying to decide when to prune. It seems to be constantly heavy with huge blooms, and goodness knows--I don't want to risk snipping potential buds!

Ah, phlox. What is spring without a blanket of bright pink phlox?

Fringed bleeding heart. What can I say? I love its lacy foliage almost as much as I adore its delicate, tiny blossoms. I want to plant hundreds.

While we don't have hundreds, we do have an abundance of sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) throughout the forest. A beautifully fragrant native shrub, its fruity scent and beautiful blooms make a great addition to a woodland garden.

Now, we're getting into some of my favorites. Variegated Solomon's Seal, with its tiny, understated blooms, is a staple throughout the gardens. Don't you love how the fiddleheads emerge, almost framing the dripping Solomon's Seal?

Who doesn't love lilies of the valley? Peter planted a couple dozen in the fall, but sadly this is the only one blooming so far. Crossing fingers for many more blooms from this old-fashioned charmer.

Then, there's trillium. Good grief, it's adorable. If I won the lottery, I think my first purchase would be to naturalize the entire woodland pathway with trillium. While this blossom hadn't unfolded earlier today, Peter informed me tonight that it's now open. More photos later...

More native plants throughout the garden: violets. Right now, there's a lovely purple carpet of violets along the woodland paths. They're just so stinking cute!

The dogwood blooms add brightness to the forest. Sadly, several of the trees are infested with a pesky caterpillar that's feasting on the flowers. I hope it decides to leave. Soon.

Fraise des bois, my favorite little perishable strawberry. The blooms hint at deliciousness to come!

Even the kale is showing off. OK, so it's bolting. Still, planted in containers with pansies last fall, the tall spikes of yellow flowers add good height and visual interest. Plus, pollinators love the blooms.

While today's blooms provide spring bliss, I'm not certain what tomorrow will bring. Tonight, these poor beauties will battle freezing temperatures. I've covered what I can, and now I'm hoping for the best.

Stay warm, little pretties.

What's blooming in your garden?

Happy Bloom Day to you!