17 Spring Blooming Perennials, Evergreens, and Bulbs

There can be a gap in blooming time between the blooms of Tulips and Daffodils, and your common summer perennials, so these are seventeen of my favorite mid-spring bloomers that help bridge the blossom gap in the garden and keep color moving through your yard.  If you need a pop of color to tide you over before it gets warm, try your hand at growing one of these!

 17 Spring Blooming Perennials, Evergreens, and Bulbs

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Two Great Picks For Japanese Arbor Designing

A reader recently asked me for some ideas in his Japanese themed garden, so I put together one common and one uncommon choice for arbor plants that will fit the bill with both Asian and aesthetic qualities.

139356799 647d834ec3 300x225 Two Great Picks For Japanese Arbor Designing

If you are looking for two great options for your trellis or arbor, here are two Japanese vines that are sure to wow your guests, and fill your yard with fragrance!  Two varieties that I recommend for a Japanese themed arbor are Japanese Wisteria, and Akebia Quinata.

Japanese Wisteria is a more common garden find these days, and it’s affluent purple clusters of flowers work naturally with a sturdy arbor, providing a ceiling of blooms overhead.  Japanese Wisteria prefers a full sun location, and well drained soil with moderate watering, in order to thrive. Wisteria is recommended in USDA planting zones 5-9. The growth habits are such that it can quickly overwhelm a weak arbor or trellis structure under the weight of blooms, and brances, so it is a choice for permanent, and strong structures that are capable of holding a great deal of weight.

  • Troubleshooting: While juvenille plants can be harder to coax into initial blooming than other varieties of Wisteria, the color, and proficience of the plant once blooming are well worth the trouble. I recommend buying this plant from a nursery, to aquire a plant of several years of age. The older the plant you buy, the more likely you are to have reliable blooms quickly.  Very young plants have been known to wait 5 plus years to bloom, although some plants benefit from a little root trimming at the time of planting to help trigger blooms. To further encourage blooms, fertilize this plant with a high phosphorous fertilizer.


Akebia quinata  is also know as the chocolate vine, and if you aren’t intrigued by the name alone, the purple or suede brown flowers will capture your attention with a scent compared to a true milk chocolate! This vine is cold hardy, and recommended in USDA planting zones 4-9. It’s leaves grow in clusters of five, and look truly unique on a trellis, adding an authentic Japanese flavor, and tropical appeal to your patio.

123076704 d592716102 300x199 Two Great Picks For Japanese Arbor Designing Akebia needs well drained but moist soil, and can grow happily in almost any soil type, be it sandy, clay or otherwise. Akebia is successful in all types in sun exposure, from full sun locations, to shaded locations, and will bloom in April and May. Unlike Japanese Wisteria, Akebia quinata can grow in an average light-duty trellis or arbor, and will not endanger the structure under it’s weight.


Both of these plants although beautiful can be very invasive, and their growth habits when left unchecked can pose a danger to local flora and fauna.  The best location for these arbor plants is in a contained environment, under the care of someone who will discard any clipping, and prunings into trash bags to prevent the spread of these species into the natural landscape.

Together or alone these two choices will add an authentic Japanese touch to your home space, and provide you with years of aesthetic enjoyment both outdoors, and in cut displays. Try one of these out for yourself, and let me know how they work for you!

Happy Planting!


Wisteria picture courtesy of atu1666

Akebia picture courtesy of Van Swearingen