According to an ancient proverb: “If you keep a green tree in your heart, a singing bird may come.”
Last month, at a rally in an indoor arena filled with thousands of jubilant supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, a tiny songbird suddenly appeared and flew over to the podium to be with Bernie. A joyous and magical moment.
Talking about birds, did you know that a group of Flamingos is called a Flamboyance? I found this delightful nugget of information in a small gem of a book released this year by Ten Speed Press: Maja Safstrom’s “THE illustrated COMPENDIUM OF amazing ANIMAL FACTS.”
Sadly, we aren’t all blessed with Flamingos, but we can easily achieve Spring Flamboyance in the garden by planting Rhododendron ‘Amoena’. This gorgeous, old-timey evergreen azalea is a hardy, vigorous shrub, and a reliable May bloomer. Mine flourishes in sandy acid soil in shade. (Photos below.)
If you prefer understated elegance, one of my favorite early Spring bloomers — sharing the same culture requirements as Amoena — is the evergreen native shrub, Chamaedaphne calyculata ‘Tiny Tom.’ In April, Tom’s elegant wand-like stems are cloaked with dainty, snowy-white, dangling bells. (Photo below.)
For long-blooming elegance, you can’t beat Helleborus — my hellebore flowers opened in March and continue to bloom despite subsequent snow storms and frigid weather. Helleborus does best in sweet soil. I amend my acid soil with lime and wood ash. (Photos below.)
HOT TIP: To ensure success in the garden this year, plant Trifolium purpurascens and enjoy a steady supply of lucky four-leaf clovers. (Photo below.)
Trifolium purpurascens is not widely available. My well-grown healthy plants were purchased by mail order from Bluestone Perennials, in Ohio. (bluestoneperennials.com; Phone: 800-852-5243).