Visiting Spring in North Carolina

Hi GPODers—it’s your editor, Joseph, here.

Last week I took a trip down from my home in northern Indiana to Raleigh, North Carolina, and got a little prelude of spring. At home we’re still in the snowdrop stage of things, but down in Raleigh things were growing and blooming.

I stopped by the JC Raulston Arboretum, and right in the parking lot I was greeted by this beautiful mass of Helleborus foetidus (Zones 5–9) in full bloom. The flowers might not be as colorful as some of the hybrid hellebores, but I really love them. The finely cut, dark green foliage looks great every day of the year and contrasts so beautifully with the light green flowers.

close up of green hellebore flowersEach nodding green bloom is edged with a line of purple that I love.

close up of bright purple iris flowersIris unguicularis (Zones 7–9) blooms super early in mild climates and is one of my very favorites. The flowers are huge compared to those of other early-blooming plants like crocus or snowdrops. And they smell good too!

small plant with silver foliage growing in a crevice gardenI spotted this little treasure in the crevice garden. It is Tetraneuris acaulus ‘Las Vegas’ (Zones 5–9). It has no flowers yet, but who needs them when the foliage is this beautiful?

close up of Cyclamen with pink flowersThis hardy winter-blooming Cyclamen coum (Zones 5–9) looks gorgeous in the shade garden.

bright yellow and orange daffodilsWho can resist a sunny clump of daffodils?

walking path through a forest in winterI also took a hike in Umstead State Park, just up the road. At first glance, it still looked pretty wintry there . . .

small evergreen plant with bud about to bloom. . . but look what I found—a little hepatica (Hepatica americana, Zones 4–9) in bud and about to bloom! I love these little wildflowers. They bloom so early, and as you can see, the foliage stays evergreen and attractive all winter long.

close up of small purple flowersThis shot is from last year, but it likely represents what that little hepatica will look like soon once the flowers fully open.

What signs of spring are you seeing in your gardens?


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