Early Signs of Spring in the Garden

Forsythia, Crocus, Rosemary, Fruit Trees

by Mike Dooley

It’s been a long winter and especially cold. But there’s hope on the horizon.Ancient peoples measured time by the signs of nature, and so do we. In New Mexico, we have our special plants that give us a clue of what’s to come. These early bloomers don’t perform long, but they are stunning when they do. Consider adding some of these beauties to your landscape as the harbingers of spring.

I don’t know how they do it, but I always love to see the crocus with their intense bloom colors poking through the cold soil of late winter. Crocus are very short plants that have leaves like daylilies and are best used in the foreground of your flower beds so they don’t get lost in the rest of the foliage.

Forsythia is a fountain-shaped shrub that should be used as a single specimen in a corner or any other location where they can be allowed to reach a mature size. The most common varieties bloom a beautiful butter-yellow before the leaves appear. Dwarf varieties are also available.

Rosemary is a very early bloomer and, if you’re looking for an evergreen shrub that gets 4’ tall and 6’ wide, this is a great shrub. Rosemary has small medium-blue blooms and is very resistant to rabbits. With our historic cold temperatures this winter, rosemary has probably been damaged, but with some pruning they should survive.

Finally, all the fruit trees will be in bloom soon and remind us of what a wonderful place we call home. Unfortunately apricot trees bloom early. The potential fruit is often lost to the freezes that follow.

Stay tuned. My new book on landscape design for do-it-yourselfers will be out in April.

Happy Gardening!