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Spring Eternal

Daffodil • Narcissus

Bright daffodils are considered by many to be the quintessential spring flower, brightening backyards, parks, and even Nantucket windowboxes. There are more than 40 varieties in the Narcissus family, in shades ranging from pure white to soft pink and including the golden trumpets so beloved by gardeners everywhere. The bulbs will divide and naturalize with carefree abandon in sunny, well-drained locations.

Jacobs Ladder • Polemonium caeruleum

The delicate blue and purple flowers of this easy-to-grow perennial peek out from fern-like foliage on slender stalks, alternating like Jacob’s famous biblical ladder to heaven. Grown in small clumps in partial shade, these subtle beauties require little care and are also easy to divide and transplant.

Hyacinth • Hyacinthus

The sweet scent of Hyacinth in a full rainbow of colors from white to deep purple has been associated with the earth’s spring rebirth for centuries. The tightly clustered flowers on thick green stalks are best planted in groupings of 10 to 20, in indirect sunlight. Like daffodils, Hyacinth do not like wet, soggy soil. The bulbs are native to the Mediterranean, but thrive in gardens around the world.

Tulip • Tulipa

The stunning colors, shapes, and sizes of these showstoppers are especially beautiful when planted in masses in gardens, under trees, or along walkways. Unlike some other spring blooming bulbs—such as daffodils and Iris—tulips are not long-lived and need to be replanted every few years. However these spectacular bloomers—in a gorgeous array of colors, patterns, and shapes—are worth
the time and effort.

Iris • Iris

There are more than 250 species of Iris in the world. Iris, in a diverse array of vivid colors and patterns, are very easy to grow and the creeping rhizomes are simple to divide and replant in the fall. Iris love soggy locations and will even thrive when potted plants are submerged in fish ponds or other water features. This old-fashioned plant is a mainstay in Cape Cod and Island gardens.

Peony ~ Paeonia

These late spring beauties are the true queens of the perennial garden with huge fragrant blossoms in gorgeous colors. Peonies—which can live for centuries and will even thrive in abandoned gardens—are a favorite of brides everywhere and add drama and vivid texture to any bouquet or garden design. Growing in tall clumps, Peonies are best planted in sunny locations at the back of a perennial border.

Wisteria • Wisteria

The fragrant lavender flowers of Wisteria vines love the sandy soil and moist climate of Cape Cod and the Islands. These hardy plants can grow up trees, over porches, and around doorways; their delicious fragrance and beauty is a true sign of seaside spring. In old Cape Cod sea captains’ villages like Cotuit and Centerville, Wisteria planted long ago still bloom beautifully with almost no care.

A photo essay on the perennial pleasure of spring flowers that thrive on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket

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