A few days ago my friend Annie called to say her red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) was about to burst into full bloom, inviting me to swing by and photograph it. She has a couple of nice shrubs against the fence in her backyard and when I visited on March 16 one of the two was in full bloom.
Annie said she’d planted both plants at the same time, so we puzzled over why one was blooming and the other just in bud. They’re both under a cherry tree and less than 10 feet apart. The only thing we could figure is that the blooming specimen gets a little more sun and is a little closer to their vegetable garden rather than the somewhat wet back portion of their yard.
Plants bloom on their own schedule, but generally dependent on temperature. Some plants are also day-length sensitive, blooming when the number of hours of daylight meets their needs.
Red-flowering current is one of our early-blooming native shrubs, used extensively in landscaping. Annie’s plants have fairly typical pink-magenta blossoms. We have one in our backyard that’s just starting to open with deep pink, almost red, flowers. You’ll also find plants with nearly pure white flowers and there are horticultural selections with flowers anywhere from white to deep red.