This a show off year for our early spring flowering shrubs. The two pictured above, forsythia also called golden bell and flowering quince are two of my favorites. Early flowering spiraeas and weigela are two other popular early bloomers. Since I like to buy these plants in bloom, now is the time to go shopping. Here are a few tips about selecting the right plant for you. While there are several dwarf forsythias, I prefer the big guys. You should select forsythia on the yellow hue you like. There those that tend toward the gold tones like the selection Lynwood Gold to the clear yellows like Spring Glory. So you can see buying these plants in bloom can get you the right color. As for the dwarf selections, I have never grown them, so I do not feel qualified to recommend them. Regarding flowering quince, I have grown both the big shrubs and the lesser flowering quince, too. White and red are the most common colors of the large plants, but there are orange, pink and pink and white bicolor ones, too. All do well in the metro area, and you cannot go wrong if you need a six to eight foot flowering shrub that has a somewhat upright arching habit of growth. The lesser flowering quince, as they are called, are much smaller and have a somewhat trailing habit of growth. The stems tend to pile on top of each other forming a dense mass and usually stay under four feet tall. There are beautiful plantings of the white jet trail all over town, but they come in a variety of colors. All do well in our area. Remember quince has thorns, so they are not good for areas where children might fall into them. Both forsythia and quince do best in sunny locations with well drained soil but are tolerant enough to survive under tough conditions. So remember to buy these plants in bloom for best results.