Springtime is one of the most glorious seasons in Columbia, but sometimes it takes slowing our pace a bit to appreciate its true splendor.

With folks spending more time in their yards and on walks, it’s the perfect time to learn more about the plants that make up the Columbia landscape, and maybe take on a bit of gardening of your own.

We talked with our friends at the Columbia Garden Club about the plants and flowers coming to life this time of year. They wrote the book (literally) on gardening in this neck of the woods with an easy-to-follow guide designed to help even the newcomer to gardening. Gardening Notes for South Carolina, written by The Columbia Garden Club and published by The University of South Carolina press might just give you the nudge you need to cultivate your green thumb. 

What’s Blooming in Columbia in April:

Azalea: Due to its sheer prevalence and popularity, this flowering shrub may be one of the most recognizable flowering plants in our area. Look for the pink, red or white blooms throughout the month of April.

Camellia: Known to some as the epitome of Southern elegance, these large blooms appear on bushes with evergreen leaves. If you are lucky enough to have a camellia bush in your yard, try floating a few blooms in a decorative vase or bowl to bring some cheer inside. 

Bradford Pear: These trees can grow up to 30 feet tall producing showy white flowers in a feathery overhead canopy. Contrary to popular belief, these trees do not produce edible fruit, and they don’t smell as good as they look!

Oakleaf Hydrangea: One of the few types of hydrangeas native to the United States, this Southern beauty’s foliage looks like an oak leaf and actually changes color in the fall. The blooms are white cone-shaped flowers. 

Larkspur: These blooms are airy stalks ranging in hues from blues to purples. 

Snapdragon: These intensely sweet-smelling flowers come in a rainbow of hues and are named appropriately for the individual blooms’ shape, which is much like the head and mouth of a dragon. 

Iris: These showy stalks boast blooms in a variety of colors like purples, yellows and blues and swordlike foliage. 

Try at Home in April:

Plant seeds: Now’s the time to plant seeds that will produce flowers later in the summer. “Heat-loving” plants such as zinnia, marigold and portulaca seeds can be sown now. 

Tend beds: According to Columbia Garden Club past president Leslie Wrenn, spring is the perfect time to add to perennial beds. “Shasta daisies are my favorite,”  Wrenn says, “Then I splash in some Vinca for color. I pull back my pine straw mulch to help my Hostas come back. I also add a dose of Osmocote to keep the boost of color from my Lady Banks Roses, Azaleas and Abelias. My Loropetalum never needs any help!”

Start hanging baskets: Impatiens, begonias, and caladiums do well in the shade and verbena, lantana, vinca, and petunias are sun-loving. 

Plant an herb garden: Dill, basil and other annual herbs can be grown at home and used in your cooking

Cut back: Cut back daffodil stems (not leaves) and prune azaleas after they have finished blooming.

Special thanks to Sharon Shuler, Verd Cunningham and Leslie Wrenn of Columbia Garden Club for their contributions to this post. Gardening Notes for South Carolina is available for purchase on Amazon