Finally, Spring is here! Winter has its moments to be sure, the sounds of snowflakes slowly landing in a silent landscape. The clear days and the crisp air. But Springtime is our favourite time. Let life bloom in radiant, explosive colour. Let the temperature rise, let us shake off our desire for comfy and warm, and let's get outside!
As Ottawa's choice florist, we're obsessed with all things floral, and Spring is nature's showcase. So, being in the Northern Hemisphere, let's take a tour around the garden and guide you through what blooms in the Spring.
Is a small shrub that with typically white or yellow flowers that spread out like shredded paper. Witch Hazel has been used for a myriad of reasons over time: it's branches have been used as divining rods to find water, and as an astringent in ointments that soothe and promote healing for skin issues. Apply it to anything from diaper rash to skin burns, but don't ingest it, as it can be slightly toxic.
The gorgeous crocus is a flowering perennial that belongs to the Iris family. They typically bloom in purple, yellow and white. These flowers originate from the islands off of mainland Greece, but where transported by the Pope to the Netherlands in the 1500's. Aside from being a beautiful flower, it is also farmed in the cultivation of the spice Saffron.
The lovely Snowdrop is a perennial that grows from a bulb and flowers in a white bell shape with six leaves. They are early risers, typically blooming before the first day of spring. These flowers have been used as symbol for the new season and rejuvenation over the years, even showing up in Homer's Odyssey as a cure for poison. Its medicinal use is in the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease.
The pansy is actually a hybrid of multiple wildflowers, and usually produces two large petals in white, yellow, purple, or blue. The name Pansy is derived from the French word for thought, "Pensee". It was the Heiress Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet, who began cultivating and cross breeding varieties, which popularized the Pansy across European flower growers.
The Daffodil, or Narcissus, is a perennial and also a prime symbol of spring with its typically bright vibrant yellow colouring. Due to their bold tones and distinctive fragrance, Daffodils have been cultivated over millennia, with the earliest mentions being in writings from ancient Greece. The famous Greek philosopher Pliny the Elder, actually coined the name Narcissus after the fable of the young man falling in love with his own reflection.
The most common North American species is the Iris reticula, and it is the classic, vibrant purple iris that explodes gardens into life when the temperature rises. It grows from a bulb annually, and its distinctive yellow centre is unmistakable. Irises are used in for their fragrance in types of Gin and other spirits. Also, the flowering yellow iris is used in some parts of the world to purify waterways, as they absorb toxins that result from farm by-products.
Forsythia is a shrub with bright yellow flowers that contain four petals, and come to life in the early spring. Named after the famous botanist William Forsyth, they were brought to Europe after early western explorers landed in Japan. Also, the plant is considered one of the fifty fundamental herbs in Chinese Herbology
Scilla is a perennial bulb, that usually bloom in blue flowers, but can be found in white, pink, and purple. Also known as Squill, it has a rich history of being used as a medicinal plant. It was originally used to decrease coughs and assist with respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and whooping cough.
Anemone are perennials with long stems that typically bloom in a mixture of colours that range from scarlett, crimson, blue, and white, however purple is the most common. They resemble poppies in their shape, and grow quickly once the temperature rises. In Greek Mythology, they were considered the tears of the Goddess of Love - Aphrodite.
Before the Pussy Willow fully blooms, it buds into small, gray, furry catkins, hence the name Pussy Willow. They bloom early, and are one of the first hints that spring is close. This symbol lends itself to many cultural interpretations as it is the favourite flower of the Chinese New Year, and signifies prosperity. In the West, they are used during Easter Celebrations, while in Iran they are a vital part of the Nowruz New Year's Celebration.
This well known, and beautiful, perennial bulb is large and brightly coloured. Usually coming in red, yellow, or white. The tulip is actually a member of the Lily family, and it is one of the most cultivated flowers in the word. The name Tulip is from the Persian word for turban, which the flower can resemble.
The gorgeous Rhododendron, takes its name from the ancient Greek words for Rose and Tree. It is a shrub, or in some cases can grow into a tree, and hold many clusters of typically purple flowers. There are over 1000 species of Rhododendron which grow all over the world, and they can come in both evergreen or deciduous types. This flower, while safe to humans, is very toxic to horses and other animals, so with good reason it is the symbol of danger and caution.
Muscari is a perennial plant that grows in stalks of blue urn shaped flowers. Also known as the Grape Hyacinth, they are famous for their ability to grow in a wide variety of terrains and climates, so much so that their Latin name is: Muscari Neglectum.
Primrose is a perennial, that can be evergreen in the right habitat, and are usually pale yellow, white, or pink. It is a cherished species in England, and hence they are protected there. This is a classic bloom in any countryside or cottage setting, and they can be edible, as their taste resembles lettuce.
Hyacinth are small bulbous plants, that flower off of spikes. They are typically blue to purple, but due to hundreds of years of cultivation they can be found in red, white, orange, pink, or yellow. Symbolizing play, the hyacinth has been a popular flower and star of spring gardens internationally. But please be careful, they are poisonous, and can cause mild skin irritation.
Lilacs, or Syringas, are small trees that belong to the olive family. The most dramatic symbol of spring these fragrant flowers explode in all shades of purple, however rarer varieties can be found in white, pale yellow, pink and dark burgundy. They symbolize love and in many cultures Easter, as they tend to bloom around that time of year.