Enjoy a Winter Blooms Walk at Green Spring Gardens

Although this is the time of year when visitors flock to Green Spring Gardens to see our national collection of witch hazels, there are many other early signs of spring throughout the gardens that you can spot as you stroll around the grounds.

Head to the Rock Garden to see the swath of lovely pink blooms on Erica ‘Kramer’s Red.’ This winter-blooming heather provides color through the coldest months. Nestled at the base of the rock wall near the opuntia are two clumps of buttery-yellow daffodils, Narcissus bulbocodium. Also called hoop petticoat daffodils, their perianths resemble frilly petticoats.

(Pictured: Erica ‘Kramer’s Red’ and hoop petticoat daffodils)

The raised bed under the eastern red cedar trees by our accessible parking area provides early blooms with snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), brightening these chilly days. Winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) have opened sunny yellow blooms atop frilly green bracts. They provide weeks of joy.

(Pictured: snowdrops and Winter aconites)

Follow the paved loop to the Arbor Garden where the flowering apricot tree, Prunus mume ‘Peggy Clark,’ brightens the garden with hundreds of clear pink blossoms. Then, head over to the colorful red twig dogwood (Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’) at the edge of the shrub border near the London Plane tree. If you look carefully, you’ll find a lovely clump of blue crocus coming into bloom. Near them, arching green stems are covered with lovely sunny blooms that resemble forsythia. This is Jasminum nudiflorum, and its starry yellow blooms, arrive weeks before forsythia.

(Pictured: ‘Peggy Clark,’ ‘Midwinter Fire,’ and blue crocus)

Towards the back of the shrub border, you’ll find Helleborus foetidus, the stinking hellebore, with bright green bracts beginning to open. Under the towering white pines is another carpet of snowdrops to greet you.

As you approach the Historic House, you’ll see the white flowering apricot tree, Prunus mume ‘Big Joe,’ with snow white blossoms. In nearby beds, lovely Helleborus hybridus in shades of cream and pink are beginning to open. If you notice a sweet fragrance, look for the small, waxy yellow blooms on the Chimonanthus praecox, or wintersweet. Its lovely yellow flowers emit a sweet fragrance that floats on the winter air.

(Pictured: ‘Big Joe’ and wintersweet)

Enjoy the gardens and discovering our early-blooming hidden gems! Spring is just around the corner.

Judy Zatsick is a horticulturist, garden designer and the site manager at Green Spring Gardens.

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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