SEATTLE — After a long cold winter like this last one, we all need something to lift our spirits and remind us that spring will soon be here, and nothing adds a cheery glow like planting up a simple spring container garden.
It's too early for most of the showy annuals, so it might seem like there’s not much to choose from at the nurseries this time of year, but if you look closely, there are plenty of cold tolerant, container plants that are compact in size, bloom for an extended period in the cool spring weather, and generally don't mind a bit of crowding. Here are some of my favorites.
Ranunculus asianticus (Persian buttercups): These tuberous perennials boast brilliantly colored flowers made up of multiple layers of delicate, crepe paper thin petals. The flowers can be anywhere from two to five inches across and come in a wide array of colors. The blossoms are atop sturdy stems above lush foliage of finely cut fern-like leaves, making them ideal centerpieces in early spring pots. The blooms are long lasting in the cool spring temperatures, and since they aren't reliably hardy here, don't feel guilty about composting them when the show is over.
Spring blooming bulbs: There are all sorts of gorgeous spring blooming bulbs available in containers at your local nursery this time of year.
You'll find everything from daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and hyacinths.
For a long lasting display, try to find some that are just beginning to bloom. I chose hyacinths because they add bright color as well as fantastic fragrance.
Pansies: Pansies are my go to plant to add cheery color to an early spring pot. They come in every color under the sun, have flowers that come in all sizes, and best of all, even if a hard freeze hits them and they look like they've had it, as soon as it warms up again, they bounce right back up and bloom their little hearts out.
Loobularia (Sweet Alyssum): Let it spill over the side to add a lovely honey fragrance. Sweet Alyssum comes in shades of pink, purple and white.
Other spring bloomers that can handle cold weather that might be available include snap dragons and zonal geraniums.
Finally, since Easter comes in spring I used the traditional colors of purple and yellow. Add a few peeps on sticks for an Easter flair!
Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest at 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.