|Snow in Spring?|
Yes, indeed. Underscoring our wacky spring weather one year was Mindy Reaves of Springfield smiling through a heavy March 26th snow in a St. Louis botanical garden. Amazingly, the snowfall in St. Louis that night totaled six inches.
Mindy provided us the above photo and these of the snowy daffodils and magnolia blossoms to share with you, and we thank her for them.
|Two Rare Sights|
Hyacinths in the snow. March 23, 2013, in Springfield, Missouri.
Variegated iris in the snow in April, 2012.
|At Last, Spring and the Crocuses|
For many the first sign of spring is the sudden appearance of our beloved crocus. These broke through the leaves and bloomed on February 19th in a rural yard in the countryside near Springfield, Missouri.
What could be more cheery than these bright yellow crocuses peeking through the leaves? These appeared in late February in the countryside near Republic, Missouri.
An explosion of color
These white French crocus struck a cheery note in the country in mid-March. The plant at left is a 'Bright-Edge' Yucca. The rock is, well, a pretty good native granite Ozarks rock.
Our rugged Ozarks native limestone makes a beautiful counterpoint to these early spring crocuses. The scene is the remarkable Xeriscape Garden in Springfield, Missouri. You can see much more of the garden on this website in the Real Gardens section.
This just might be our favorite-picture of crocuses. We discovered these beauties on March 15, 2015, in the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden in the Springfield Botanical Gardens in Springfield, Missouri, and they just flat wowed us.
Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa species) are so named because they often appear before the last snow of winter has melted away.
One of the most striking of our spring flowers, Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) also blooms early, as with this one on February 19th.
|The First Daffodil Buds|
Also in mid-February, the first buds of the first daffodils.
Treasures in a vacant lot in the tiny community of Brookline, Missouri, these lemon-colored daffodils brighten a shady nook. Daffodils naturalize so beautifully in the Ozarks that they often appear where you least expect them. We happened upon these in early March.
|A Golden Daffodil|
This brilliant golden daffodil is one of several that naturalized over many years in a country yard.
These Dwarf Iris were up in all their glory on March 3rd. The dwarf species is Iris reticulata and it always blooms before it reaches its full 6-inch height. Dwarf Iris also naturalize in the Ozarks. The bulblets may take years to mature,so wise gardeners like to plant a few new ones every year.
|A New One|
We'd never seen a Dwarf Iris this color before we happened upon this one on March 15th, 2013, in the beautiful Springfield Botanical Gardens. We've since learned it's Iris histrioides 'Katherine Hodgkin'. We love it.
The first sign of spring in the nurseries? Beautiful daffodils, jonquils, narcissus and tulips, like these at one of the Ozarks' oldest nurseries, Wickman's Garden Village in Springfield, Missouri.
Hyacinths are beloved by many for their colorful clusters of fragrant flowers in March and April. Best planted in early September in the Ozarks, they are normally treated as annuals in our Ozarks gardens. Some varieties will naturalize but their bloom tends to deline, so many gardeners replant every year. Note: Summer Hyacinths can be planted in March for bloom in July.
If it's scrumptious-looking spring flowers you like, how about this opulent Pink Hyacinth? It's for looking only, though, as hyacinth blooms are poisonous if eaten. This beauty appeared in the marvelous Springfield Botanical Gardens in Springfield, Missouri.
'Forsythia is pure joy. There is
not an ounce, not a glimmer,
Anne Lindbergh (1906-2001)
Forsythia indeed are famed for the brilliant color as they usher in the spring, and we chose the title "Spring Wins" for this photo in particular because it shows the forsythia against a background of trees broken in a devastating Ozarks ice storm of the previous winter of 2007.
|An Especially Glorious Spring|
The blossoming of flowering trees in the Ozarks was nothing less than spectacular in the spring of 2008, as shown by this flowering crabapple. Some say the lushness of bloom was was the result of record-setting rains, others that it was the trees' response to the severe "pruning" caused by the 2007 ice storm noted above. Whatever the reason, it was a spring to remember.
This beautiful Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) reached full bloom on a March 21st in Springfield, Missouri. A highly valued landscape plant, it's easy to grow and can become a tree 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It likes full sun or partial shade, sandy or loamy soil, and plenty of moisture. Some cultivars have pink flowers, pink flowers that fade to white, or white flowers with a pink tinge on the outside.
This Star Magnolia dances in the wind in the beautiful Springfield Botanical Gardens in Springfield, Missouri, showing its unique charm as a juvenile shrub.
Among the Ozarks' most beloved flowering trees, Pink Dogwood (Cornus florida var. rubra) is said to also be America's favorite tree. This specimen blooming in the spring of 2008 was exceptionally lush and lovely.
The Ozarks' native Flowering Dogwood can also be a breathtaking sight when in full bloom, growing as tall as 40 feet with a 35-foot spread.
This lovely Weeping Cherry (Prunus subhirtella var. pendula) in a south central Springfield, Missouri, was in full color on March 24th..
Bursting with blossoms, this native Ozarks cherry tree in the countryside near Springfield, Missouri, promised a real bounty. We were told that this tree bears a boxcar-load of "the most delicious cherries imaginable," but that you have to work hard to beat the birds to them.
This closer look at a spray of cherry blossoms reveals the full beauty of each blossom.
Forgive us, but we couldn't resist these shaded cherry blossoms.
|'Prairie Fire' Flowering Crabapple|
This dazzling burst of color comes from the so-aptly-named 'Prairie Fire' Flowering Crabapple, caught in full blossom on March 29.
|Apple Blossom Time|
Spring also brings the blossoming of our favorite fruit trees. This apple tree of unknown variety thrives in a country garden near Springfield, Missouri, and blooms heavily the first week in April. It's said to be heavily loaded with apples in the fall that are small and not very pretty, since the tree is never sprayed, and the fruit is full-flavored and unusually delicious.
|The Neighborhood in Spring|
A beautiful old neighborhood in north Springfield, Missouri, in spring dress.
|The First Hummer|
Spring also sees the return of our hummingbirds. This first hummer of the year was caught by amateur photographer Bob Deroy at his Springfield, Missouri, home. It's a ruby-throated hummingbird, which the Missouri Conservationist magazine tells us is the only one of nature's 335 hummingbird species to be seen regularly seen in Missouri. We very much appreciate Bob's sharing this photo with us.
Flowering shrubs also brighten spring, and with its vase shape and profusion of soft, pink flowers that appear before the leaves, the Flowering Almond (Prunus glandulosa) is especially lovely. This specimen in an Ozarks garden was in full bloom on April 4th. The plant in full sun or partial shade, does best in light, well-drained garden soil, and can reach 3-4 feet in height. Note: The blue flowers in the background are Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum).
This long-neglected lilac in the countryside near Springfield, Missouri, is nonetheless thriving and in the first week of April is loaded with beautiful, highly fragrant blossoms.
|A Darker Lilac|
In bud and just beginning to blossom, this darker lilac in an Ozarks country garden promises a beautiful display in mid-April.
|The Art of Nature|
We've no idea through what magic this photo of a lilac in the country turned out to look like a Florentine painting, but here we are.
Another most welcome sign in the Ozarks spring is the flush of Redbud blossoms. This marvelous tree in south Springfield, Missouri, on April 8th was nearing full bloom. Although an understory tree that normally reaches about 20 feet tall in the forest, Redbud in the open can grow to 50 feet or taller.
We'd never seen this before, but then with a little research we learned that Redbud blossoms often appear on the trunks of the trees. These were in the beautiful Xeriscape Garden in Springfield, Missouri.
|A Deer in Spring|
This beautiful photo of a fawn and wildflowers was provided us by photographer Bob Deroy of Springfield, Missouri. He took it at the Missouri Conservation Department's Conservation Nature Center in Springfield, a place where all animals are safe.
For many people in the Ozarks, no flower stirs as many fond memories as the Peony. Easy to grow and thriving in nearly every type of soil, they were favorites of our parents and grandparents, who welcomed them every spring. Peonies do prefer full sun, plenty of water, and good, well-drained garden loam. These were caught in full flower in Springfield, Missouri's, Xeriscape Garden in early May.
The brightest notes of spring in the Ozarks may well be the tulips. These bright red beauties grow in the Xeriscape Garden in Springfield, Missouri.
|Bob's Yellow Tulip|
Photographer Bob Deroy of Springfield, Missouri, sent us this engaging photo of a yellow tulip and friends. We so appreciate it that we named it "Bob's yellow tulip." Bob has a red tulip, too. Guess what we're calling that one.
|Bob's Red Tulip|
That's right. It's "Bob's Red Tulip," every bit as grand as the tulip above. Once again, we're most appreciative of Bob's photographic contribution.
This has been our informal look at a few of the beauties of the Ozarks spring season. We hope you've enjoyed it. Even more, we hope that you enjoy the real spring as well.