New England is picturesque in three of the four seasons. But please note you’ll not find upbeat commercials for springtime in our region unless dour is your thing. Instead, the commercials would entreat you to come and search our woodlands for individual flowers and the rare bush breaking into bloom.
Still, every morning this time of year, I stumble around my wooded garden watching the Canadian ginger slowly unpack its leaves, see the anemones pop above the leaf mulch, and see the green and bronze trout lily leaves emerge, followed by the yellow flower.

There is very little brashly direct about springtime in New England. Instead, it’s slow, subtle, and subdued.


The back area of our lot abuts part of a wildlife sanctuary. It’s a sort of wing or peninsula off of the main property that juts up into our street; it’s a few house lots deep. Just big enough to provide privacy and the comfort that no one will build behind our old house.

The cherry, maples, oaks, and a few hickory trees do an excellent job of shading that back part of my yard and my neighbors’. Unfortunately, they are frustrated lawn makers and fight a non-winnable battle against the shade. Being it’s a sanctuary, they have little chance of seeing enough trees removed that their lawns would thrive. Within months of buying the property, I conceded the victory to the woods. I’ve never been a big fan of lawns anyway.

My kids started digging a pond, and I began planting native plants tolerant of the partial and deep shade that we had there. Each year I add a few plants as I find appropriate species in the catalogs and nurseries that cater to those looking for native plants. So it’s not unusual that I pace spring by the emergence of springtime plants and flowers. This year I discovered that my photographic collection is detailed enough from past springs that I could state that we were over a week behind last spring in my tiny neck of the woods.

So what’s emerging today, April tenth?

The petal-less flowers of the Spicebush are swollen but not open. Last year they were in “bloom” on April first. Preparing for later bloom are:

  • Trillium – the first trillium leaves have popped up,  
  • Wood Phlox has sprouted. 
  • Anenome fringed leaves are showing.
  • The bronze and green leaves of Trout Lily are on display.
  • The leaves of Canadian Ginger got caught in yesterday’s hail storm, but they should still do well. The Canadian Ginger has a lovely little flower that hides beneath its leaves.

I’ll be checking daily now for the blooms. However, some of these plants, like the Trout Lily, are ephemeral – the plants disappear not too long after they bloom. So, if you want to catch them, you have to observe them daily.

I know many who look at me and say, “Spring in New England? You’re nuts!” But in many ways, it’s the best one. You just have to be patient.

Trout Lily
Trout Lily
Canadian Ginger
Canadian Ginger
Woods Phlox
%d bloggers like this: