Bloom Alert: Early-Spring Flowers
saber rahi

Some of the earliest plants to bloom are located in or near the Shakespeare Garden. As the snow melts, look for these five.

Winter Aconite
(Eranthis hyemale)
Shakespeare Garden

This late-winter bloomer is one of the first flowers of the year. Notice the distinct collar of green bracts beneath the yellow petals. In addition to the Shakespeare Garden, it can also be found in the Rock Garden and the Perennial Border.

Misczenko Squill
(Scilla mischtschenkoana)
along Celebrity Path

One of the shorter plants in the Scilla genus, this Iranian native has relatively large, fragrant flowers. There are also large swaths of this plant along Belle's Brook.

Double Common Snowdrop
(Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’)
Shakespeare Garden

Snowdrops are particularly beloved in the UK, where enthusiasts are called “galanthophiles.” There are only 20 species but over 1,500 cultivars. Common snowdrops can be found all over the Shakespeare Garden, as well as the double-flowered Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ cultivar.

Dwarf Iris
(Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’)
Shakespeare Garden

Reticulated irises appear in late winter and early spring. This fragrant hybrid was introduced in 1958 by E.B. Anderson and named after the wife of fellow U.K. breeder Eliot Hodgkin.

Sweet Box
(Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna)
Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden (near Duck Landing)


This low-growing evergreen shrub has small, white flowers that produce a strong, sweet fragrance in late winter. Black berries form later in the season.

Japanese Aucuba
Aucuba japonica 'Picturata'
Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden (near the Alfred T. White Memorial)

Sometimes known as Japanese laurel, this shrub is dioecious, meaning its male and female reproductive parts are on separate plants. Female plants will form red berries if fertilized by a male plant.