Species spring crocuses begin blooming very early in the season, and the hybrid typically the large-flowered types of Crocus vernus, follow a week or two later. The corms are planted in fall along with other spring-flowering bulbs; they need a period of cold before blooming.
Woodland gardens are just beginning to wake up when bleeding heart starts blooming. The flowers of this perennial last for a week to 10 days; the foliage remains attractive till early to mid-summer when it turns yellow and \"dies\" early.
An early-spring bloomer, flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) is another old-fashioned deciduous shrub that blooms at the same time as spirea.
Baptisias produce their upright racemes of pea-like flowers in mid-spring. This drought-tolerant perennial often thrives where lupines don't. Colors range from light yellow to white to blue.
Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) is a shade-loving perennial that blooms in mid-spring. The ferny foliage grows to about three tall. USDA Zones 4 to 9.
Azaleas bloom mid-season, the Gumpo types at the end of spring. By planting a variety of types, you can enjoy a month or more of these landscape beacons that is, if you can offer the right conditions: light shade or morning sun only, and moist, rich, acid, well-drained soil.
Members of the same genus as azaleas, rhododendrons share their requirement for moist, well-drained, acid soil. If necessary, prune these evergreen plants immediately after bloom (late spring). Waiting too late risks nipping off next year's buds.
Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) blooms in late spring. Preferring moist soil in sun or shade, this deciduous shrub also has colorful fall foliage. USDA Zones 5 to 9.