We have several plants that are harbingers of spring. They bloom when all the others are still thinking about creating flowers, and are opening their leaves to the sun.
My father had a star magnolia outside the windows of his last office, what he called "the shop." The magnolia was planted on a rather steep hillside in Stone County, Missouri. You can imagine how difficult it was to water that shrub adequately. First there was run-off because it hadn't been set into the hillside properly,and second, the ground absorbed the water and it drained off immediately. I didn't understand these things at the time, and I thought this little plant was destined to be just three feet tall.
More than twenty years later, I bought a star magnolia, a tip of the hat to my Dad's choice of shrubs. It's planted just outside the window to MY office. This "shrub" has grown to be 18-20 feet tall and the blooms were awesome this year! As you can see from the picture, the entire plant was densely covered with blooms.
The CPA's assistant came to visit a couple of weeks ago when the magnolia was at its peak. I had the windows open, and a gentle breeze was coming in past the magnolia. The scent was amazing! Our heads swiveled in unison to sniff the air! *G*
Unfortunately, the blooms on our star magnolia last barely a week, less if the temperatures are extreme. So they have given way to the daffodils and tulips and other flowering shrubs.
We have one pod of very early tulips that I believe are the "Darwin" variety. Usually tulips die a quick death in the clay of my gardens, but these have lasted for easily fifteen years. For some reason, the chipmunks who live in that garden leave them alone. They seem to have the same protective scent or taste that daffodils have, and pests leave them alone.
I love the bright color. It's a shock to the senses so early in spring!