It's that time of the year when we all anticipate the first color of the fresh, new year in the landscape! As the end of one of the mildest winters in recent memory nears, our enthusiasm is no less significant. Witchhazels (Hamamelis spp.) are typically the first hardy shrubs to bloom in this area. We, in particular, like the Arnold Promise variety as its bright yellow blossoms stand out cheerfully in the otherwise bleak planting. If the unusually warm weather continues, soon many of the ornamental cherries (Prunus spp.) will start to flower. Little Twist is a cute 6'-tall growing specimen with light pink blossoms and interesting foliage the remainder of the year. As always, look for forsythia and quince to be a couple more harbingers of spring. We like Gold Tide and Double Take, respectively. Both of these make great options, especially for a smaller urban garden where space is at a premium. The PJM Rhododendron is the earliest flowering broad-leafed evergreen we know of. Its lavender flowers are quite striking against the early season backdrop. Other trees that generally make their appearances at the outset include the Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) Autumn Brilliance. We like this variety especially for its three seasons of interest. And, of course, we can't forget to mention all of the beautiful early spring flowering Magnolias. We like the members of the Little Girl series with their large, saucer-like blossoms of different shades of pink, purple, and white on diminutive, multi-stemmed trees. The Butterfly variety is another favorite for its unusual bright yellow blooms that also make their appearance early in the spring. These and many other early spring flowering trees and shrubs are available starting in early March at Rolling Ridge.