COLORADO, USA — As our gardens come to life, many of us are just itching to plant something.
I'm currently enjoying flowers that I planted long ago. Lovely Lenten roses are in full bloom. These plants aren't roses. They're properly called hellebores and are native to eastern Europe. The toughest of the tough, shade-loving hellebores are evergreen and flower at Eastertime with pretty downward-facing blossoms in shades of pink, plum and cream--some with speckled petals. The individual flowers last for two months. That's incredible.
Striped squill, properly Puschkinia, are also native to eastern Europe. This little bulb has short stems with white flowers striped with aqua blue. I planted a few dozen 25 years ago. Now they number in the thousands. They're never a nuisance because the leaves fade away unobtrusively by late spring.
Hellebores can be planted now; you'll need to wait until fall to plant striped squills. What you can plant safely now includes pansies, peas, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and spinach. Perennials that have been hardened off can also be planted, as well as the roots of horseradish, asparagus and rhubarb. It's way too early to think about setting out standard summer fare such as geraniums or peppers.
It's fine to buy summer plants and acclimate them to the sun on warm days. Just make sure to bring them indoors at night.
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