up and running: 7 charming perennials

lathyrus-vernis-purpleTHEY’RE OFF! OR SO IT SEEMS. IT’S A HORSE-RACE-TURNED-ROCKET-LAUNCH this time of year, with the spring vetchling (above), Lathyrus vernus, going neck-and-neck with my treasured oddball called Hylomecon japonicum. Say hello to the little flashy speed-demons I’m hanging out with this week:

LATHYRUS VERNUS, the spring vetchling, is a non-vining, carefree perennial pea I cannot imagine spring without. Not familiar with it? Read on.

PULMONARIA RUBRA has been at it for weeks here. No variegation in its leaves, like many of the showier lungworts (as pulmonarias are called) have, but hey, red’s pretty special in early spring, isn’t it?

pachysandra procumbensPACHYSANDRA PROCUMBENS, the American species (above), is blooming now, too. Forgive the weeds among its flowers in the photo…much cleanup to do here, but didn’t want to miss this sweetie’s little bottlebrush blooms.

HYLOMECON JAPONICUM is one of my real heart-throbs, though nobody else seems to love it like I do. See what you think for yourself.

CORYDALIS SOLIDA, a little bleeding heart relative with lavender blooms, got dug up and moved around by somebody last year. Now it’s everywhere. The scoop.

TRACHYSTEMON ORIENTALIS is showing off its blue flowers in the shady shrub borders, and its big leaves are about to pop as its second act. A great groundcover for rugged spots. Its profile is here.

primula veris redPRIMULA VERIS (above) is always my first primrose to get going. Sweet and subtle, and available in many colors (I have the palest yellow and also a reddish one, as shown). There are others ahead, like P. kisoana and P. japonica, but not yet.

Hold your horses. The race is just beginning. Try to stay calm!

  1. Tedb says:

    Great plants – it’s amazing how many easy, beautiful plants are ignored by most of horticulture. I missed the previous post on hylomecon – I’m putting on my list. Does the Lathyrus re-seed for you or do you divide it?

  2. Candylei says:

    I love the color of the primroses…a blue-pink. Do you have any weeds yet? ;) Ours are starting to come up like hair…windblown tree seeds, etc. They’ll make a nice compost heap or green manure tea.

  3. Brian G. says:

    I bought some Hylomecon last spring on your advise. I love that bright yellow flower and the leaves make such a nice neat mound of green. Definitely a winner and super easy. The Lathyrus is, unfortunately, a bit difficult to get (especially in purple with pink being easier to find). I will keep looking though. I love anything in the pea family.

  4. Amy says:

    They are all lovely, but I think the corydalis solida is still my favorite. Did it turn up in any surprising location this year?
    Brian G, Lathyrus is available from White Flower Farm — a little pricey though.

    1. Margaret says:

      @Amy: The Corydalis is EVERYWHERE…but sadly they are all baby plants. I miss my one big juicy old one. Alas, the vagaries of nature (and the naughtiness of chipmunks, I guess).

      @Candylei: Weeds? DId you say weeds? Yes, many…and even dandelions already. Garlic mustard by the bushel, and on and on. Ugh.

  5. Brian G. says:

    Thanks, @Amy, I did see it at White Flower but you are right, too rich for me. I’ll try to get it from a more low rent district in the fall:)

    1. Margaret says:

      @Jim: I am freaked out by the very-expanded lilac buds here…WAY too soon…though perhaps cold weather will hold them back. All too confusing for me at the moment. :)

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