September 18, 2021

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Episode 84: Underappreciated Plants for Spring

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It’s easy to get excited about the first tulip or even the first dandelion in the yard (OK—that might be a stretch). But what about those plants that don’t get all the love and attention, yet still brighten up those first few months of the gardening season? Today we’re honoring those unsung heroes of the spring garden—plants that need a better PR agent because they’re marvelous, but not very well-known. We’ve got a few native dark horses and even a shrub that Steve thought he’d never like. To get you really laughing we revisit some childhood memories of using spring plants in mischievous ways. Finally, we debut a new segment where we give a brief look into what’s going on (good, bad, and ugly) in our gardens right now.

Expert testimony: Bill Cullina is the executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum.

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Purple witch hazel busting out of its pot in Danielle’s garden
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‘Painted Lady’ iris in Steve’s garden

Danielle’s Plants

Eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus, Zones  4-7)

Black garlic (Allium nigrum, Zones 3-8)

Chinese neillia (Neillia sinensis, Zones 5-7)

Beach plum (Prunus maritima, Zones 3-8)

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Eastern skunk cabbage
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Black garlic
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Chinese neillia
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Beach plum

Steve’s Plants

Golden Jackpot® weigela (Weigela florida ‘MonRigney’, Zones 4-8)

Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla, Zones 5-7)

‘Jeannine’ allium (Allium moly ‘Jeannine’, Zones 3-9)

Snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris, Zones 4-8)

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Golden Jackpot® weigela
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Twinleaf
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‘Jeannine’ allium
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Snowdrop anemone

Expert Picks

Expert testimony: Bill Cullina is the executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum.

Tibetan hellebore (Helleborus thibetanus, Zones 6-8)

Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne, Zones 4-7)

‘Katherine Hodgkin’ iris (Iris ‘Katherine Hodgkin’, Zones 5-9)

Swamp pink (Helonias bullata, Zones 6-9)

Chinese mayapple (Dysosma delavayi syn. Podophyllum delavayi, Zones 6-9)

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Tibetan hellebore bloom (credit: Bill Cullina)
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‘Katherine Hodgkin’ iris (credit: Bill Cullina)
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Swamp pink habit (credit: Bill Cullina)
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Swamp pink blossom (credit: Bill Cullina)
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Tibetan hellebore foliage (credit: Bill Cullina)
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Chinese mayapple hybrids (credit: Bill Cullina)
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Dwarf larkspur (credit: Bill Cullina)

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