Trumpets of yellow are abound in Niagara Parks now that the daffodils are in bloom. There is no missing the wonderful, vibrant colour – daffodils are everywhere (about a million of them, but who’s counting!) This sign that Spring has arrived can be seen all along the Niagara Parkway – northward from the Falls to picturesque Niagara-on-the Lake or southward to the historic Fort Erie. And for some great up close photo opportunities of these returning blasts of yellow, white or orange, drop by the Falls, stroll through Queen Victoria Park, or visit Oakes Garden Theatre at the base of Clifton Hill.
Adding to the floral show at Niagara Parks are forsythia – the first shrubs in the spring – and they are a wonderful sight for winter-weary eyes. Dramatic and showy, forsythia have golden yellow blooms from the soil to the tip of the stem – before any leaves emerge. This shrub is named in honour of William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist, royal head gardener, and founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society.
One of the biggest signs that Spring has really arrived is the planting of the Floral Clock. The first of this year’s two floral designs for the clock face has been completed. The Niagara Parks horticulture staff have planted the face with about 10,000 colourful violas – yellow, orange, pink, red, blue and purple. The planting took three days to cover the 12 m (40 feet) diameter clock – one of the largest floral clocks in the world. Built in 1950, the Floral Clock continues to amaze and delight. The viola clock face will bloom until late May, when the second “floral face” will be planted using traditional carpet bedding plants.
Bloom Alert: The recent, wonderfully warm and sunny weather in Niagara has sped up the arrival of our showy saucer magnolia flowers. These are always a visitor favourite with their large pinkish white goblet blooms. Not to be missed is the glorious row of magnolia trees in bloom at the Floral Showhouse, just north of the Falls.
Garden tip: Plant daffodil bulbs next Fall instead of tulips if deer are a challenge back home. This Spring-blooming bulb is rarely nibbled by deer.
Garden tip: Still waiting for your forsythia to bloom in your garden? Speed up the arrival of your Spring by cutting some branches and bringing them indoors. Place them in water, and in about seven days the blooms will open.
Garden tip: Forsythia blooms occur on stems from last year’s growth, so don’t prune them until after they flower. If you want a natural shape for your forsythia pruned them by thinning out up to one third of the older branches at the base of the plant each year.