Whyizzit that no matter the spring beauty in my garden...

...I wish I had what others do!

Welcome to Spring Show Off 2020

There is nothing so delightful as watching plants stretch and wake in spring, unless it's being with others of like mind on a fine spring day.

People once believed that the life force of Earth itself flowed out into the cosmos every Fall then back in again in spring. Maybe there is something to that. Maybe bending low or kneeling to admire that first flower or bright spark of new green puts us in line to intercept that energy stream. We feel the tingle, grin and look around for others of like mind to share the fun.

Four days ago we asked friends across the continent, "Tell us right now, today, what's showing off in your garden or just shown up to make you say 'Wow'?"

Adonis vernalis... Adorable!  Did the goddess Aphrodite really transform Adonis into this gorgeous feathery plant?

Adonis vernalis... Adorable! Did the goddess Aphrodite really transform Adonis into this gorgeous feathery plant?

From MA, ON, MI, IA, OR, CA, AZ, OH and GA!

Everyone answered in a flash... flood. We had to edit a bit, as you might imagine would happen after asking 14 gardeners to regale us with their gardens' glory. It took four days to surface through the exuberant reply!

Please hop over to the Forum to add your own report of what's making a show in your garden this spring weekend.

Massachusetts, Boston area

The first mini daffodils bloom. Many more tight clumps are not far behind, over on the north side of the house. All of them assuring P. that this Boston-area garden will not be abiding by any orders against large gatherings.

The first mini daffodils bloom. Many more tight clumps are not far behind, over on the north side of the house. All of them assuring P. that this Boston-area garden will not be abiding by any orders against large gatherings.

Meanwhile on the far west edge of the Boston area, P. and D. are thrilled as always by their native bloodroot (Sanguisorba canadensis)  each flower bud lifting out of the warm wrap of the leaf. When you dig this to divide it - do it, make more! - take a minute to consider the red-orange sap in the root, source of the name.

Meanwhile on the far west edge of the Boston area, P. and D. are thrilled as always by their native bloodroot (Sanguisorba canadensis) each flower bud lifting out of the warm wrap of the leaf. When you dig this to divide it - do it, make more! - take a minute to consider the red-orange sap in the root, source of the name.

In the same garden, woodland anemone (Anemone blanda) has been making a show for a week. Like most who plant a mix of the blue-violet species plus the white and pink varieties of this Old World charmer, P. and D. have seen the white and pink losing ground to the blue-violet.

In the same garden, woodland anemone (Anemone blanda) has been making a show for a week. Like most who plant a mix of the blue-violet species plus the white and pink varieties of this Old World charmer, P. and D. have seen the white and pink losing ground to the blue-violet.

Ontario, zone 4-5

Just cleaning up the garden, says S. I found a clump of snow crocuses, hidden until I cut down last year's Echinacea stalks.

Within five minutes this honeybee found them. The crocuses elsewhere in the yard are loaded with bees.

Within five minutes this honeybee found them. The crocuses elsewhere in the yard are loaded with bees.

It's still cool-to-cold here so the plants are loaded with red-purple anti-freeze. Guess what, it works as camouflage, too! I was admiring but puzzled by this set of absolutely luminous leaves...

It's still cool-to-cold here so the plants are loaded with red-purple anti-freeze. Guess what, it works as camouflage, too! I was admiring but puzzled by this set of absolutely luminous leaves...

...until I pulled a bit up and recognized common, usually green sundrops slipping in under the fence from the neighbor's garden.

...until I pulled a bit up and recognized common, usually green sundrops slipping in under the fence from the neighbor's garden.

You said I could tell you about whatever just came up that made me smile. This just appeared in our city park.

You said I could tell you about whatever just came up that made me smile. This just appeared in our city park.

Southeast Michigan

Steven went walking in our garden, the neighborhood and the woods.

 

S. in Ontario is right about the showiness of cold season new leaves. No matter how much you already love hens and chicks (Sempervivum species) you love them more in the early spring.

S. in Ontario is right about the showiness of cold season new leaves. No matter how much you already love hens and chicks (Sempervivum species) you love them more in the early spring.

The Puschkinia is enchanting...

The Puschkinia is enchanting...

...but it's about to lose its place in the spotlight to the maroon spears of peony rising around it.

...but it's about to lose its place in the spotlight to the maroon spears of peony rising around it.

The old fashioned bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is cold-protected, too.

The old fashioned bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is cold-protected, too.

Our young witchhazel  (Hamamelis x vernalis 'Diane') has been showy for a month.

Our young witchhazel (Hamamelis x vernalis 'Diane') has been showy for a month.

Striped maple (Acer pennsylvanicum) is just breaking bud. It is always a thrill to see a young tree grow.

Striped maple (Acer pennsylvanicum) is just breaking bud. It is always a thrill to see a young tree grow.

Helleborus 'Golden Sunrise' is our favorite among all the Lenten roses. She is just opening.

Helleborus 'Golden Sunrise' is our favorite among all the Lenten roses. She is just opening.

Elsewhere in Southeast Michigan:

 

We were surprised to learn that S. and T. are colder than we are although just 20 miles away. Our netted iris (Iris reticulata) finished a week ago yet theirs are still in full bloom and loaded with tiny sweat bees. They land on the petal lip and follow the yellow stripe like a landing strip down to the nectary.

We were surprised to learn that S. and T. are colder than we are although just 20 miles away. Our netted iris (Iris reticulata) finished a week ago yet theirs are still in full bloom and loaded with tiny sweat bees. They land on the petal lip and follow the yellow stripe like a landing strip down to the nectary.

From Dearborn Heights, D. and C.'s opening photo seemed to be telling us they're still in winter there 20 miles to our south. What!? No. Turns out that in their conifer garden the winter wonders still glow and they couldn't resist sending a snow-enhanced photo from a month ago. It's Chief Joseph pine, a variety of the lodgepole pines often used as a support in native American's traditional homes.

From Dearborn Heights, D. and C.'s opening photo seemed to be telling us they're still in winter there 20 miles to our south. What!? No. Turns out that in their conifer garden the winter wonders still glow and they couldn't resist sending a snow-enhanced photo from a month ago. It's Chief Joseph pine, a variety of the lodgepole pines often used as a support in native American's traditional homes.

From our garden we counter with the lower but no less engaging gold leaf bachelor button. (Centaurea montana 'Midas Touch'.) It blooms blue, Chief! You can't beat that.

From our garden we counter with the lower but no less engaging gold leaf bachelor button. (Centaurea montana 'Midas Touch'.) It blooms blue, Chief! You can't beat that.

Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) is a 'way underused small tree, in full bloom weeks before forsythia and daffodils. D. and C.'s is a variegated form so after it blooms the creamy white edges of the leaves are attractive. Small, red, sour fruits form to feed the birds in late summer.

Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) is a 'way underused small tree, in full bloom weeks before forsythia and daffodils. D. and C.'s is a variegated form so after it blooms the creamy white edges of the leaves are attractive. Small, red, sour fruits form to feed the birds in late summer.

Pulmonarias are starting to bloom. Clever creatures, they begin blooming near the warm ground and keep it up as temperatures rise and they stretch up to 15".

Pulmonarias are starting to bloom. Clever creatures, they begin blooming near the warm ground and keep it up as temperatures rise and they stretch up to 15".

No beating D. and C.'s heather (Erica variety!)

No beating D. and C.'s heather (Erica variety!)

Iowa

In Cedar Rapids M. reports she is enjoying blue squill (Scilla sibirica) and the forsythias that are just about to opne, but what took her fancy was an oak she saw on a bike ride.

We were so taken by the knobby roots, we missed the face that M. saw.

We were so taken by the knobby roots, we missed the face that M. saw.

There it is!

There it is!

Over in Oregon

Spring comes earlier to Hood River than to the Midwest but M. and K.'s photo, up next, exaggerates that difference. Their daffs are a week ahead of southeast Michigan, sure, but don't put the usual hybrid tulips up against those pictured here. These are the early-blooming species Tulipa greigii. No chance that the main run of hybrid tulips can beat greigii's out of the ground.

Even the moss is admirable on a spring day.

Even the moss is admirable on a spring day.

Southern California

In Los Angeles where the parks are closed to prevent large gatherings, temporarily garden-less transplant A. still found riots of color along every street:

Cold winter gardeners might not even recognize lantana if they see it covering an entire wall or slope, as it can when it is a year round plant.

Cold winter gardeners might not even recognize lantana if they see it covering an entire wall or slope, as it can when it is a year round plant.

But we recognize the flowers!

But we recognize the flowers!

It is tough to be a gardener transplant. Good luck, A.! Every basic saying you grew by must be reexamined. If you learned to expect crabapple bloom and rose season by "Mothers get crabapples but Fathers get roses" you'll be disoriented to have roses two months before Father's Day.

Tucson

Tucson celebrates its desert nature in L.'s largely-native garden.

Hedgehog cacti are just coming into bloom in early April.

Hedgehog cacti are just coming into bloom in early April.

A Trichocereus cactus, penstemon behind. Hummingbird heaven!

A Trichocereus cactus, penstemon behind. Hummingbird heaven!

Another of the Trichocereus clan. If you think all acti are alike you need to visit the Southwest

Another of the Trichocereus clan. If you think all acti are alike you need to visit the Southwest

Like most of the others, L. tried to cheat with a year-old shot of this palo verde in bloom. For the sake of the hawk and for your enjoyment we accepted it.

Like most of the others, L. tried to cheat with a year-old shot of this palo verde in bloom. For the sake of the hawk and for your enjoyment we accepted it.

From Dayton, Ohio

J. reports a ton of color, beginning with the "who even cares if they bloom, look at those leaves" toadshade (Trillium sessile). Hmm. In fact, given the rank odor of this native wildflower's bloom maybe we'll pass on looking at it this closely next week.

Toadshade (Trilium sessile)

Toadshade (Trilium sessile)

When a far-off friend says "I have hellebores blooming too", check again on your two gardens' synchrony. Compare the center of this bloom, the actual fertile flower parts, to the Golden Sunrise earlier in this article. Stamens are just developing on that Michigan plant while here 200 miles south pollination's nearly complete.

When a far-off friend says "I have hellebores blooming too", check again on your two gardens' synchrony. Compare the center of this bloom, the actual fertile flower parts, to the Golden Sunrise earlier in this article. Stamens are just developing on that Michigan plant while here 200 miles south pollination's nearly complete.

Caltha palustris, marsh marigold is lighting the edges of streams in central Ohio. By June this native ephemeral will have disappeared into the ground. (You may miss it on a phone but on the big screen I see this Ohioan sent us a UofMichigan nod.)

Caltha palustris, marsh marigold is lighting the edges of streams in central Ohio. By June this native ephemeral will have disappeared into the ground. (You may miss it on a phone but on the big screen I see this Ohioan sent us a UofMichigan nod.)

And on the stream banks, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

And on the stream banks, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

Star magnolia (M. stellata) in Dayton, right now.

Star magnolia (M. stellata) in Dayton, right now.

Finish Line: Savannah, GA!

In the garden of the four D's, in-town Savannah, it isn't spring but all seasons!

Aw come on, guys! Jasmine already?!

Aw come on, guys! Jasmine already?!

The apples and crabs are in bloom.

The apples and crabs are in bloom.

Look at the fruit on that grapeholly. Mahonia bealei. Enough to make some jam!

Look at the fruit on that grapeholly. Mahonia bealei. Enough to make some jam!

Brugmansia!

Brugmansia!

We'll end this tour with something all those gardeners could have for the hummingbirds: Ground level though it is, the hummers do love Ajuga (A. reptans).

That's all, folks!

What's showing off and just showing up in your garden? Please, join us at the Forum. We've posted more from this coast-to-coast snapshot there, where it can be appended by anyone willing to spend a few minutes to become a free Member. Let's keep on enjoying and being amazed at the great diversity of color across our continent.