“As a garden designer, I have always stood in awe of and had great respect for the process of nature,” says Geoffrey Nimmer, president of East End Garden Design in Water Mill, New York, “But this time of year, it is so satisfying to jump start spring just a little.” We sent Nimmer a tall Gratia Planter Box to fill with seasonally appropriate flora that thrives in the Northeast, and he decided to bring in spring with some flowers. While visiting the nursery, Nimmer got inspired by Helleborus orientalis (Lenten Roses), which is an evergreen perennial that blooms in early spring. “When they’re done flowering,” explains Nimmer, “I will plant them in the shady garden and they will bloom year after year.” He filled in around the Helleborus with Ranunculus asiaticus (Turban Ranunculus), which are an annual and won’t make it into the warmer months. “Those will end up in the compost pile.” And finally, to fill in the bare spots around the others, he used Viola odorata (Sweet Violet): “I could put them in my garden when they are finished blooming, but they tend to re-seed like crazy and will end up everywhere. Even though these are the violets of song and story, I believe their fate is the same as the Ranunculus.” Nimmer’s website, which is here, is coming soon. Or, you can get in touch with him at eastendgardens at aol dot com.