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Virginia Bluebells

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - They’re beautiful, native and blooming right now. Virginia bluebells, Latin name Mertensia virginica, are woodland plants that you can easily grow in moist, shady spots in your yard – such as below azaleas or other shrubs where you’d like to add some color in early spring. They grow about 18 inches high and are topped by loads of tubular bell-shaped flowers. Their buds actually begin as a bright pink, then as the flowers balloon open, they turn a clean light blue that stands out against their lovely green, rounded leaves. So for most of their bloom time there’s a perfect color combination of pink to lavender and blue – I love it.

Bluebells bloom for about three weeks, then, their foliage declines and disappears for the summer, so a lot of people grow hostas or other shade-loving perennials near their bluebells to fill in the empty spaces. But, I just sprinkle impatiens seeds to keep these shadier spots bright with color all through the summer and fall after my Virginia bluebells have faded away.

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