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Spring 2024

Easy spring bloomers for your garden

Marin is awash with flowers in spring -- from native wildflowers on our hills and in our gardens to early-blooming bulbs to perennials that bloom all the way into summer. And while some spring bloomers, particularly bulbs, require planting in the fall, there are always plenty of plants available in our local nurseries to add cheery color and maybe even some dreamy fragrance right now. Here are some to consider.

Perennials that bloom year after year

Lenten rose
Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) is a great addition to the shade garden. There is a wide variety of color in both the flowers and foliage of these deer-resistant charmers. Give them more water in summer.
Photo: Rebecca Kimmel, Flickr

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a sun-loving, low-water perennial that attracts pollinators and is deer-resistant. Its many hybrids and cultivars range in color from white to yellow to yellow-red.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Kangaroo paws
Kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos spp.) is an herbaceous, full-sun perennial that attracts hummingbirds. It requires good drainage, preferring deep, infrequent watering, but will enjoy a little extra water in summer. It is available in a wide variety of colors and its fuzzy blooms (those cute ”paws”) make good cut or dried flowers.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Looking for more ideas?  Try these easy spring bloomers.

California native plants bring the natural environment into the garden

California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) provide the iconic bright orange-yellow flowers that brighten any garden. Being native, they begin to bloom early, after the winter rains, and require no additional water. Poppies self-sow, which means you’ll have blooms next year (and the year after that), too. Although available in nurseries, this native is best started from seed.
Photo: Philip Bouchard, Flickr

Monkey flower
Monkey flower (Diplacus aurantiacus) hybrids are available in white, yellow, orange, and red. This easy-to-grow low-water perennial thrives in sun or part shade and blooms well into summer. It also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and is deer resistant.
Photo: Las Pilitas

Blue-eyed grass
Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) has grassy foliage and a profusion of blue daisy-like flowers that first appear after the winter rains. It has a relatively long bloom period, is drought tolerant, and attracts hummingbirds.
Photo: Las Pilitas

Interested in other natives? Try these spring-blooming natives.

Bulbs offer plant-it-and-forget-it simplicity

While daffodils are a favorite harbinger of spring, there are plenty of other bulbs that add color and excitement to the garden.

Bluebells (Hyacynthoides spp.) boasts blue bell-shaped flowers, a lovely companion among ferns or in a woodland garden. It naturalizes easily.
Photo: Peter O’Connor, Flickr

Freesias are available in a variety of colors and have a lovely fragrance. While preferring warmth and full sun, they happily grow in containers in cooler climates. Added bonus? Deer don’t eat them.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Want to plan for next year? Check out these spring blooming bulbs.