This term refers to spring wildflowers that appear quickly in early spring when sunlight, moisture and soil nutrients are just right. Ephemerals bloom, fruit, die back, and then disappear completely from the garden before the spring season has even completed its run. Novice gardeners may think the plants have died, but they have not! Spring ephemerals return each year only at the exact right time given the conditions mentioned above. Why spring? Because that’s when the sunlight can still reach the forest floor – and ephemerals are native to the woodland. Ephemerals must bloom before the leaves of overhead trees unfurl and block the light. They are able to do so because they grow close to the ground, where soil moisture protects them from the cold temperatures we sometimes experience in spring.