If a barrage of blossoms spells spring to you, join the crowd. At Rosedale Nurseries in Hawthorne, brisk sales of flowering perennials and shrubs signal spring is around the corner. Operating for 116 years and through three generations, Rosedale has plenty of experience when it comes to getting gardeners up and running for the growing season. Co-manager Pat Colwell keeps tabs on trends, including color, what to plant year-round, and plants that are deer resistant. Plus, many customers are going native. With her finger on the pulse of what to plant, here’s what Colwell suggests for spring flings.
Best Native Shrub
Fothergilla ‘Mount Airy’: For gardeners with limited space, this fragrant spring bloomer is it. It’s a compact, disease-free native shrub with bottle-brush-like flowers and shimmering fall foliage.
Best for Extending the Spring Fling
Syringa ‘Palibin’: Want the look of a lilac distilled into a small package with mildew resistance? Try ‘Palibin’ or ‘Miss Kim’. Both extend the season by blooming beyond the larger early lilacs.
Best Ground-Covering Shrub
Deutzia gracilis ‘Nikko’: ‘Nikko’ sprawls low and spends April and May smothered in white blossoms. It’s a boon for gardeners but not a banquet for deer.
Best Tree for All-Season Performance
Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’: ‘Autumn Brilliance’ is a native that has it all, with a lacework of prolific white spring flowers followed by summer fruit and radiant autumn foliage.
Best Spring Preview Perennial
Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’: For anyone who craves spring before the snow has melted, hellebores are the perennials for you. Not only are they deer resistant, but the precocious rose-tinted buds of the Lenten rose open into colorful cream and green blossoms.
Best Deer-Resistant Groundcover
Brunnera macropylla ‘Jack Frost’: This bugloss has all the bells and whistles, including silver leaves veined in green topped by airy, ocean-blue blossoms looking for all the world like forget-me-nots. It is deer resistant and a great groundcover for a shady spot that needs brightening.
Toughest Workhorse for Spring
Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’: Want a workhorse that arrives on the job early? Enlist an epimedium. They thrive in tough spots, taking dry shade in stride. Not only do they send up butter yellow flowers early, but their heart-shaped, ground-hugging leaves blush red early in the season.
Best Fragrant Spring Woodlander
Galium odoratum (top): Carpet the ground beneath trees with sweet woodruff, which tolerates dry shadevaliantly and forms a green carpet of short spikes that run around vigorously with no encouragement needed. It’s tidy, but in spring it adds tiny, aromatic white flowers to its virtues.
The Best Tools with Which to Tackle the Garden
Adjustable Steel Rake
The tines on Terra Verde’s inexpensive, adjustable rake fan from 7.5 inches to 21 inches, so you can tidy up tight spaces as well as larger areas with one tool.
Available at Rosedale Nurseries, 51 Saw Mill River Rd, Hawthorne (914) 769-1300, $15
Felco 2 Pruner
This Swiss-made tool has replaceable parts. Yes, it’s a little more expensive than other pruners, but a Felco is worth it. Plus, there are models for smaller hands and left-handed gardeners.
Available at www.felcostore.com, $53
Felco 600 Folding Saw
For limbs that are a little too large for your pruner, Felco has a small saw that folds up so you can carry it around safely. With a replaceable blade, it lasts forever.
Available at www.felcostore.com, $39