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Winter Aconite Adds Cheer to the Winter Garden

It seems early to be scouting spring blooms, but this season has been throwing us for a bit of a loop. Unseasonably warm days have been followed by below average temperatures. But this is Cincinnati and the one thing we can count on is unpredictable weather. 

As gardeners, we can also count on the cheery, oh so welcoming blooms of Winter Aconite. Blooming very early in the woodland garden, this yellow beauty is greeting us when Witch Hazels are in bloom. When they have bloomed a bit later in the season, I have found them covered with honeybees. On warm days, honeybees will leave their hives for cleansing flights as well as to forage for the first offerings of pollen. Winter Aconite is a bee-friendly plant that should be incorporated into any garden, especially one dedicated to our pollinators. 

Where We Love this Plant
I prefer this plant in a woodland setting, under Witch Hazel, Doublefile Viburnum or in an oak or maple grove. As a spring ephemeral, it prefers the sun of early spring, but then requires the shade afforded by deciduous trees. 

If added to an extensive garden, set it off with some rocks or stones that draw the eye to that part of the garden, or serve as a lovely contrasting backdrop to the plant’s spring green foliage and canary yellow blooms. Another option, plant them along a meandering garden path. 

A small plant, it’s best grown in generous groupings close the home, walk or patio, so it can be enjoyed. 

Companion plants are numerous: any woodland shade plant does well. I like to see them planted with Hellebore, Snowdrops, Pulmonaria and Japanese Beach Ferns.

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