For perfumed bulb blooms, Biltmore includes hyacinths in spring bulb displays. These pretty flowers appear in early spring, breaking ground while frost is still in the forecast. Sometimes a hard freeze can nip the tips of leaves, turning them brown, but flower buds are typically untouched. Look for hyacinths with blooms in shades including blue, purple, pink, yellow and white. A cluster of hyacinth bulbs can scent a small garden.
If space is tight in your yard, you can still enjoy lush hydrangea blooms with this small shrub, which grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Flower color shifts from a deep violet-purple in acid soils to pink in basic soils. Use this reblooming hydrangea in containers, as a specimen plant, to edge planting beds or as an informal hedge. Hardy in Zones 5-9. Botanical name: Hydrangea macrophylla
Candy colors and sherbet pinks, yellows and lilacs get a cooler treatment in this color-packed bedroom from Catherine M. Austin interior design. We love how she transformed a narrow hallway connecting a bedroom and bath with a punchy, sweet hydrangea purple balanced with a selection of well-curated contemporary art. Even the bold white etagere becomes an artsy statement piece when it’s piled with colorful art and design books to create a mini library/gallery space.
For cool-region gardens, it’s tough to beat the stunning spring beauty of lupine. This native sends up flower spikes in a host of hues, including purple, white and pink. Lupines unfurl strongly textural leaves with finger-like edges. Dew and raindrops pool in leaf centers, adding sparkle to plants. This native readily self-sows, delivering different colors in future generations. Sow this beauty in drifts so you can cut flower spikes for the vase, where they linger up to two weeks. Look for varieties that grow to different sizes. This pretty pink bloomer is Lupinus polyphyllus ‘Minarette’. It grows 18 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3-7.
Purple flower clusters (8 inches long) cover this small tree all summer long. Blooms beckon pollinators of all kinds—it’s a great plant for a bee or butterfly garden. Gray-green leaves have purple undersides that complement blooms. Look for other chaste tree varieties with flowers in shades of pink or white. The branch structure is very architectural and adds good winter interest to a landscape. If your chaste tree develops lots of twiggy growth and starts looking more shrub-like, prune it in late winter. Remove all smaller twigs along five or six major trunks to create a tree-looking plant. Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 6-9.
Dutch hyacinth is a fragrance powerhouse. Its stocky blooms open in midspring, around the time that daffodils are hitting their stride. The blooms release a rich, full fragrance that can fill the spring garden. Indoors, pots of forced hyacinths bring spring scents to life in the heart of winter. Plant bulbs in fall for a spring show in the garden. Choose flower colors in many shades, including purple, blue, pink, salmon, white and red. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
David Austin English Rose James L. Austin has perfectly-formed flowers in an unusual shade of deep reddish-pink that's spectacular among garden companions in shades of blue, purple, grey, green and cream. The flowers form large rosettes with a classic button eye of the sort long associated with the Old Roses (especially the antique Gallicas and Albas). The dense petals shrug off bad weather. Its delicious fragrance is fruity, evoking blackberry and raspberry with hints of lemon zest and almond. See davidaustinroses.com.
It’s tough to beat the floral perfume of lilacs. These flowering shrubs open blooms from late spring to early summer, depending on variety. The blossoms offer traditional colors, like purple, lavender and white, and you can also find lilacs with pink, yellow and even bicolor blooms. A few lilacs actually lack fragrance, so it’s important to do your homework before buying a plant. Some of the most fragrant varieties include wine-red ‘Congo’ (Zones 4-7), pink ‘Maiden’s Blush’ (Zones 2-7), light blue ‘President Grevy' (Zones 3-7) and white ‘Beauty of Moscow’ (Zones 3-7). Plants grow from shrub to small tree size, reaching from 3 to 15 feet tall. Hardiness depends on variety, from Zones 2-9.
One of the most successful ways to keep a muted space from falling flat is to layer in several shades of the same color using pillows and throws. The large-scale butterfly pillow in the armchair has slightly more purple in it than the upholstery fabric, resulting in a subtle, sophisticated layering effect. When layering shades of mauve and lavender, it’s important to stay away from those with beige undertones: they’ll end up reading more in the pink or flesh-tone family.
It’s tough to beat the floral perfume of lilacs. These flowering shrubs open blooms from late spring to early summer, depending on variety. The blossoms offer traditional colors, like purple, lavender and white. You can also find lilacs with pink, yellow and even bicolor blooms. A few lilacs actually lack fragrance, so it’s important to do your homework before buying a plant. Some of the most fragrant varieties include light blue ‘President Grevy (Zones 3-7, shown), wine-red ‘Congo’ (Zones 4-7), pink ‘Maiden’s Blush’ (Zones 2-7) and white ‘Beauty of Moscow’ (Zones 3-7). Plants grow from shrub to small tree size, reaching from 3 to 15 feet tall. Hardiness depends on variety, from Zones 2-9.
Blanket flower is also a terrific choice for cottage gardens, where its high-flowering potential blends beautifully with traditional cottage plants like larkspur, pinks and lady’s mantle. In the garden, cool blanket flower’s bold blossom hues with gray or silver plants (lamb’s ears, santolina, lavender) or deep burgundy toned plants (alternanthera, purple millet, amaranthus). This planting features Heat It Up Scarlet and Yellow blanket flowers with Sweet Caroline Red Hawk sweet potato vine. Heat It Up blanket flowers grow 12 to 24 inches tall and spread 18 to 36 inches. Typically grown as an annual, but hardy in Zones 8-10.
When clematis flowers fade, they form quirky mophead seedheads that look like something out of a Dr. Seuss story. Each individual stem in the mophead holds a seed at its base. As the seedheads mature, the mop “strings” become fuzzy. Clematis seedheads made a wonderful addition to dried flower creations. This clematis is ‘Rouge Cardinal,’ a beautiful large-flowered pink-hued bloomer. This clematis grows best in full sun. The 5- to 7-inch flowers shift to purple tones when plants receive more shade. To prune, in late winter or early spring, cut all stems back to 6 inches above soil. Vines grow 10 to 12 feet tall and up to 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 3 to 10.
Some clematis showcase bicolor blooms. One of the most well-known in this category is ‘Nelly Moser.’ This beauty unfurls very big, 7- to 9-inch flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by a second bloom in early fall. Each blossom displays pale lilac petals with a glowing pink bar down the center. Colors tend to fade in full sun, so give ‘Nelly Moser’ a spot with light shade. Flower centers sport shades of deep purple. For best flowering, remove top growth by one-third in early spring. Vines grow 6 to 10 feet tall by 3 feet wide. Grow beside a porch where you can enjoy the bicolor blossoms on a daily basis. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.