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Nora's favorite plants for SPRING

This marks the first entry of my "Favorite Plant" series, where I highlight my top picks for each season.

When it comes to the four seasons in WNY, spring clearly drew the short straw. It's cold, there are random snow storms, and I have a bad attitude. Because of this I don't like to dedicate too much garden space to plants that bloom in March or April (what I consider "early spring"). Instead I focus on plant combinations that blossom during the months of May and June (mid to late spring).

The following are low-maintenance, deer-resistant varieties that I frequently use in my designs.



Okay, hear me out. I know they have a short blooming period, but they are my favorite! I have a whole blog post dedicated to them so I won't get too into it, but here are the basics.

size- 3-4' high and wide

light- full sun

colors- all!

pair with- salvia, lady's mantle



The violet spires of salvia adds visual contrast to your garden. Plant next to mounded perennials for complimentary shapes. This plant is a pollinator magnet and a rebloomer if you're willing to deadhead.

size- 2' height and spread, some annual varieties reach 4'

light- full to part sun

colors- purples and pinks

pair with- roses, poppy, yarrow



Another perennial with a short bloom time but man is it a stunner! I recommend planting these in clumps spread throughout your beds. If you aren't into the classic crimson there are some really fun varieties online you can start from seed.

size- 2-3' high, 1-2' wide

light- full sun

colors- reds, whites, pinks, yellows, oranges

pair with- salvia, allium



This is a great perennial for your part sun/shade beds. Choose a variety that features silver leaves for multi-season interest.

size- 1-2' high and wide

light- part-shade to shade

colors- blue

pair with- coral bells, bleeding heart



This is a great mid-sized shrub that could work as a hedge or as a specimen. Viburnums are low maintenance, deer resistant, and visually interesting from spring through fall. There are over 150 varieties but "Popcorn" (pictured) is my personal favorite. "Doublefile" is a great choice if you're looking for a larger shrub.

size- 4' to 12' high/wide depending on the variety

light- full sun to part shade

colors- white, pink

pair with- anything! Plant in a row to provide visual backdrop for your perennial garden.



Possibly the least familiar on the list, this old fashioned perennial is a great alternative to hostas if you have deer in your yard. Chartreuse clusters of flowers hover over lobed leaves in the late spring. Lady's mantle is a great choice to line beds or walkways.

height- 1-2' height and spread

light- full sun to shade

color- green/chartreuse

pair with- roses, geranium, feverfew



Also known as "Lenten Rose", this is one of the earliest blooming flowers in our region. Saucer-shaped flowers and glossy evergreen foliage provide multi-season interest to shady areas. These come in a variety of unusual colors, including black!

size- 1-2' height and spread

light- part sun to shade

color- pinks, whites, greens, black!

pair with- coral bells, Japanese forest grass, bleeding heart



This perennial groundcover is a relative to the culinary herb of the same name. Drought tolerant and deer resistant, creeping thyme looks great in a rock garden or along walkways. Be patient: this slow-growing groundcover spread, but it's well-worth the wait.

size- 2-3" height, 1' spread

light- full sun

color- pinks, purples

pair with- sedum, blue fescue, lavender

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