The Lilac City is the perfect place to experience all four seasons in their glory, but spring in Spokane is known to be fragrant and colorful. As the tulips and crocuses start to spring up in late March, the cherry trees bloom in April, and the lilacs burst in May, there is no end to the possibilities for seeing (and smelling) the beauty of spring in the Inland Northwest.
Whether you’re just passing through, taking a long-awaited road trip, new to the region, or a longtime local, making time to pause and enjoy the abundant blooms of the Spokane region is worth your time and energy.
Let’s look at a few of my favorite local spots to enjoy Spokane’s springtime blooms, and then consider my list of five favorite flowers that are perfect for your own landscape!
Where to Find Spokane's Best Spring Flowers
Often overshadowed by the stately Duncan Gardens and the beautifully perfumed Rose Hill Garden in the summertime, the colorfully textured perennial garden is my go-to refuge for inspiration and relaxation in every season. The hundreds of pollinator-friendly perennials spring to life in May and June and welcome all sorts of buzzing creatures to evoke the sounds of a much-anticipated spring. The plants are labeled, so be sure to take notes of the plants you’d like to add to your own landscape!
According to the City of Spokane’s website, there are “over 100 named cultivars from 23 distinct species.” A visit to this sunken and fragrant garden in the month of May is like no other. You’ll be surrounded by shades of purple, violet, magenta, and white, as well as the intoxicating sweet and spicy scents of innumerable blooms wafting from the Lilac City’s flower. It’s no wonder many Spokane landscapes are home to lilac shrubs big and small.
Located ten miles south of downtown Spokane off Highway 195, the Display Garden is nestled within the Rosarium Garden Center’s five-acre plot. Guests can meander through paths of roses, hydrangea, peonies, lilacs, and many other shrubs throughout the growing season, especially glorious in the height of spring. A full-service nursery and garden center, the Rosarium’s approachable staff generously helps guests select the blooms that might flourish in one’s home landscape.
Twenty miles of trails within 500 acres of hillside landscape are home to native plants and animals a mere ten minutes from downtown on Spokane’s South Hill. In springtime, you’ll find a blanket of blooms of golden arrowleaf balsamroot, white yarrow, and green meadow grass growing among other native wildflowers along the family-friendly trails and hillside. Learn more about the High Drive trails and print a map at the Friends of the Bluff website.
A short drive south of Spokane on Interstate 90 will take you to a pristine wildlife refuge near Cheney that is home to 18,000 acres of abundant flora and fauna. With driving, walking, and hiking trails, this destination is accessible for guests of all abilities and interests who are seeking to experience springtime in Spokane in a unique way. Turnbull is without a doubt one of the region’s best-kept secrets.
Some of Spokane’s most vibrant spring blooms can be found in the gardens around Spokane’s neighborhood parks, well-loved and tended to by homeowners. Consider a walk or drive in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding Comstock, Cannon Hill, Audubon, Corbin, and Polly Judd parks. See a plant you love as well as a gardener in the yard? Just ask! Chances are that those homeowners would love to tell you more about their beautifully blooming plants.
Five plants to add to your Landscape
Homeowners often ask me, “What should I grow in my garden?” It’s my pleasure to listen to their general wishes and quickly rattle off a list of my favorite plants that thrive in the Spokane region. Though the Inland Northwest has a short growing season, Spokane is the perfect zone (USDA Zone 6) for growing bountiful, colorful, drought-tolerant, and fragrant blooms year-round. Consider taking this list to your favorite independent garden center to ask the staff there how you can incorporate these blooms into your own space. Pay attention to the planting instructions offered by the nursery or on the plant tags to make sure you get your plants off to a strong start!
It’s my belief that every yard in the Inland Northwest should be lucky enough to have an old lilac gracing the property. If not, there’s no time like the present to add a fragrant and colorful shrub to your own yard. Consider the following varieties: Bloomerang, Miss Kim, and Agnes Smith.
This hardy and drought-tolerant small shrub is a gift to the pollinators and a gift to your senses, particularly in spring and summer evenings. Consider these reliable varieties: Grosso, Munstead, and Hidcote.
These drought-tolerant succulents come in all shapes and sizes with colorful waxy foliage, and many offer long-lasting blooms. Consider these varieties: Autumn Joy, Autumn Fire, Lime Zinger, and Angelina.
These spikes of multicolored blooms adorn native wildflower trails and manicured gardens alike. They are easy-care perennials that will invite butterflies to your garden landscape. Consider the Minarette and Terracotta varieties, among many others.
Among the first to bloom in the late winter, these early-spring and deer-resistant bloomers come in deep shades of purple, white, green, and magenta and thrive in a shaded garden. Consider Amethyst Gem, Cherry Blossom, and Black Diamond.
NOW, GO OUT AND ENJOY
Whether you are looking to enjoy the beauty of nature or refresh your home landscape, Spokane is the ideal place to get outside and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of a luscious springtime. Go out, take a walk with a friend or a drive alone, pack a picnic to share with loved ones, lift your head, open your eyes, and embrace the long, delicious days of springtime in the Inland Northwest.