If you’re looking to create a spring landscape buzzing with life and filled with outstanding colors and textures, these plants will help you achieve just that. Specially selected for the range of growth hardiness zones of Westchester County (6a -7a), these springtime bloomers will keep your landscape looking fresh and vibrant into the summer.
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Coral bells, also known as alumroot, includes a number of cultivars of brightly colored, evergreen perennials. What’s interesting about this low maintenance plant is that while the typically purple to pink colored flowers are spectacular, the foliage itself forms a huge portion of heuchera’s aesthetic appeal. Different varieties include leaves of lime green, dark brick red, purple, pink, orange and yellow. The flowers grow from the plant on long stalks and hang like tiny bells gathered in little clusters, hence the name coral bells. Coral bells are cold and drought hardy and thrives in zones 3-8. The body of the plant grows to about a foot wide and a foot high, with the flowers extending upward contributing an extra foot or so to overall height. The heuchera is known to attract a range of birds, including the hummingbird.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
The yarrow blooms in late spring with dense, attractive clusters of tiny pink, yellow or white flowers. The combination of yarrow’s feathery leaves, small, brightly colored flowers and tall, light stems, make it an excellent plant for contributing fine textures and a bright, springtime atmosphere to a landscape design. Certain variations of the plant grow as ground cover, while the common variety grows upright to a total height of a little more than 3 feet. Beneficial insects, like bees, are drawn by the flowers' scent and bright colors while the starling and other birds use yarrow in building their nests.
False Goat's Beard (Astilbe)
False goat’s beard includes some eighteen variations, with each one being as rich in color and fine texture as the next. Typically, the astilbe consists of a low growing shrub of about 2 feet tall and wide with delicate, serrated leaves. The main attraction of this bushy plant is the long, plume-like bunches of tiny, finely textured flowers with striking colors. The color range includes dark reds, pinks, purples and white. The plumes are known to respond animatedly to slight breezes, injecting movement into a landscape as well as its characteristic bright colors and feathery textures. The astilbe is an excellent complement to the large, smooth shapes presented by hostas and can be packed tightly into a flowerbed alongside them for a densely packed and varied plantbed.
Rock Soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides)
Famous for its abundance of pink flowers, rock soapwort forms a thick mat of foliage and flowers that can be used as a ground cover or to spill over from raised plant beds and retaining walls. Rock soapwort grows well in rock gardens or amongst stones, but can also be used as a filler between other, more sparse plantings. An unusual but not unpleasant fragrance is emitted by the flowers and has been likened to the scent of cloves. The plant blossoms in late spring/early summer and contributes vibrancy and lush swathes of color.