Spring is one of my favorite times of year. Even though we don’t usually suffer exceedingly long, cold, dark winters in Columbus, it does get bleak enough that I crave the colors of springtime blooms when they start to emerge in March and April.
Not all of our residents are native to Georgia and even longtime residents may not know what’s growing in their daily landscape, so here’s a seasonal look at what you might find in your neighborhood gardens:
Some of the first blooms you’ll see emerge are not native to our area. During the 60′s and 70′s asiatic varieties of plants were popular including Japanese Magnolia (not pictured), Camellias, and ornamental or flowering cherry trees*. Many of these plants flower first before growing leaves, marking the landscape with vivid pinks, purples, and reds in an otherwise barren tree line.
Camellia’s fall into several categories: Spring, Fall, and Winter bloomers. The shrub itself is evergreen and can grow very large depending on the species and type. The blooms have developed a bit of a cult following for their distinct shapes, coloration, and delicateness. The Chattahoochee Valley Camellia Society hosts an annual Camellia Show at the Columbus Museum every spring. It’s worth visiting to see all the variations of these colorful blooms and meet their cultivators!
At the same time you see the above trees and shrubs beginning to blossom, you’ll also start to see bulb and rhizome flowers emerge. Daffodils (bulbs) are quite popular in our area, as are irises (rhizome), but you may see the occasional hyacinth (especially Grape Hyacinth), tulip, narcissus, lily of the valley, and very rarely crocus.
The American Redbud is one of my favorite native trees and the first to pop up in the landscape. Colors range from red to burgundy, and bright pink. You’ll see these stand out along the highways and country roads or as a feature tree in landscaping.
Nothing is as iconic as the Azalea bush in the American South! This bright bloomer dots landscapes and yards all over Georgia. These shrubs bloom in hot pink , light pink, orange, white and light purples. Can’t get enough of this spectacular Spring treat? Make sure to make it to Callaway Garden’s Azalea Watch each year. The Callaway Gardens logo is derived from a native azalea variety!
Carolina Jasmine (aka, yellow jasmine, carolina jessamine) drapes like garland through the trees and is so dainty you might just miss it unless it’s gone and clumped itself on a pine! These blooms are lightly fragrant and fall to the ground once spent, like sunshine confetti!
The Dogwood** is another iconic Spring bloomer. Standing out like lace in the landscaping, these white blossoms look like cumulous clouds have settled next to those redbud bursts! Allegedly this tree’s hardy wood was used as pins in old woodwork and as medicine to early settlers. Christians relate the timing of the dogwood blossom and it’s unique petal structure as a symbol of Easter. But no matter the history or mythology, this is a gorgeous addition to your landscape!
Finally, Loropetulum! These decorative shrubs have become very popular in commercial and home landscaping in the last 10-15 years. Their purple and green leaves make a statement year round and the flared pink blossoms accentuate the uniqueness of this plant in the springtime. Other varieties exist (light green leaves with white blossoms), but you’ll see the pink and purple Loropetulum most often.
We hope this post has helped you identify some new plants in your garden. If you’ve got some that you can’t ID send it our way and we’ll do our best to help you out. You can also find resources and gorgeous gardens at the Columbus Botanical Garden and Callaway Gardens. And if you need referrals for yard help, landscaping, or other home maintenance needs, just give Best Darn Real Estate a shout out and we’ll help you with your greatest material investment!
*Check out the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival
Photos by Hannah Vongsavang