Oriental Paperbush- Edgeworthia chrysanthia This large shrub/small tree is not very interesting for the remainder of the year, but its fragrant winter/early spring blossoms earn it a spot in any garden. Creamy-white tiny flowers begin to open in late February in Virginia locations, before its leaves appear. Within a few days the entire plant will be covered with these bundles of blossoms. The fragrance is very sweet and strong, similar to that of a Korean Sweet Viburnum. Oriental Paperbush prefer shade, and is a speading shrub that grows quite lanky. It's best placed in a side yard or the back of a hedge due to its size, though it can also be pruned up as a small tree.
Snowdrop- Galanthus nivalis These petite bulbs are one of the earliest bloomers, right along with Lenten roses. They barely rise above the snow at just 3-4 inches tall. When planting them in the fall, create an organically shaped outline in your landscape and mass plant them for the best effect. Snowdrops prefer partial shade, and require moisture and cold winters in order to thrive, and are very suited for growing in the Culpeper, Virginia region.
Winter Aconite- Eranthis hyemalis The golden cup shaped flowers of this Aconite make a beautiful contrast when planted with snowdrops. Aconites are a little fussier to get established in your Culpeper garden. They're propagated with tubers, since the seeds can take up to four years to blossom. Tubers should be soaked for 24 hours prior to planting in the fall. Aconites prefer partial shade, and need to be watered during the hot summer months.
Dwarf Iris- Iris reticulata Long before your full-sized irises are in bloom, the dwarf iris brings color and scent to your landscape. These bundles of purple appreciate the sun, and should be planted in irregular masses. Consider them for the sunnier spots in your landscape, while reserving the snowdrops, Lenten roses, aconites and grape hyacinths for the partially shaded areas. True to their name, they only grow about 4 inches tall, and were originally found in the mountains of Iran, Turkey and Russia. Their bulbs should remain dry during the summer months that are their dormant period.
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