Tag Archives: Spring

Early Spring Flowering Shrubs

As the clocks go forward and the equinox has passed Spring has well and truly sprung, but spring is not all about bulb power there are many early flowering shrubs that act as great specimens in their own right as well as a flowering backdrop to all those sweeps of colourful bulbs.

Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood'

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood’

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood’: Forsythias may seem a bit common place and in some eyes even gaudy, but they are a rich golden splash at the back of a border especially if backed by evergreen planting and will sing out from the bottom of the garden even on the greyest of April rainy days.

A bold up right habit, the stems are covered in rich golden flowers, mid- March to mid April. The leaves appear after flowering. Medium sized deciduous shrub, will grow well in full sun but will cope with some shade. Will grow in most soils including poor chalk, but does not like waterlogging.

Chaenomeles speciosa ' Crimson and Gold'

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘ Crimson and Gold’

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Crimson and Gold’: A wonderful early flowering shrub, that can be planted in a border or trained up a wall. The wide saucer shaped red flowers with brilliant golden anthers appear before the leaves from the end of February through to early April. The thorny branches produce round yellow fruits in the early autumn. A medium deciduous sized shrub will cope with most soils, protect from drying out when planted up a wall.

Coronilla glauca ‘Variegata’: The trouble with this shrub, is it, just does not seem to stop flowering! A medium sized shrub with delicate evergreen grey foliage which is white edged. Delicately scented clusters of rich yellow pea shaped flowers appear in mid March for the main flowering season but the shrub will continue to flower intermittently through out the spring, summer and into the autumn. Grow in full sun and best in poor free draining soils. It is not fully hardy but will grow well in the S.E of England.

Corylopsis willmttiae: A shrub with a graceful wide spreading habit which is deciduous. Grows well in semi-shade as it is a plant of the woodland edge. It likes humus rich soils but will grow well on chalky soils if enough organic material is added and it is not allowed to dry out. From early march to mid April slender tassels of primrose yellow flowers are borne along the branches. The flowers are followed by the rich purple leaves.

Ribes sanguineum ‘Tydemans White’: Perhaps as ubiquitous in early spring as the Forsythia is the shocking pink of the Ribes, but this white form has all the robustness of the common form including its masses of flowers over a long flowering period but has a more delicate charm. A medium sized deciduous shrub with a gentle arching habit. That will grow on almost any free draining soil. Long racemes of white flowers are produced from mid march to mid April.

Stachyurus x praecox: A Medium to large deciduous wide spreading shrub with gentle habit. That grows well in fertile humus rich soils neutral to slightly acid. The rich brown branches have flower racemes forming in early autumn. The flowers open to produce 5cm long racemes of yellow cup-shaped flowers from early March. The flowers are followed by mid green broad taper-pointed leaves.

Most early spring shrubs produce their mostly delicate flowers on bare stems so to full appropriate their flowering impact, plant them either on mass in a group of at least 3. If you haven’t the room then they can be great specimen shrubs but need an evergreen ‘backing’ shrub to fully enjoy the flowers, and to create that ‘wow’ early spring impact.

If you need help to reinvigorate your garden to give it that early spring ‘wow’ factor then I can help you, from producing a planting plan for a corner of the garden or for a whole boarder, through to supplying and planting. Please do ring me. Tel :01273 470753.

Early Spring Jewels

early spring jewels.

An early spring arrival to brighten the garden is the delicate Iris retticulat and Iris histroides and their many named varieties. These dainty Irises at only 100 to 200mm tall grow well on a sunny bank or rockery or in a pot close to the house. They have the added advantage of not being a tasty treat for mice and squirrels which tend to ignore their bulbs and fresh foliage in favour of crocus.

 Iris reticulata 'Blue Hills'

Iris reticulata ‘Blue Hills’

Iris reticulata ‘Blue Hills’ – A rich deep blue with a golden splash, plant in groups with white crocus or snowdrops. Flowering Feb-march.

 Iris histtriodes 'kathrine Hodgkin'

Iris histtriodes ‘kathrine Hodgkin’

Iris histriodes ‘Kathrine Hodgkins’- Large pale blue, white flowers with blue green veins and falls which are yellow blotched. This delicate vein variety can be enjoyed at it’s best in a raided bed or tall pot. Flowering Jan-march

Iris retculata 'J.S.Dijt'

Iris retculata ‘J.S.Dijt’

Iris reticulata ‘ J.S.Dijt’- A velvety rich plum purple flower with golden blotch, helps this Iris stand out in the winter early spring boarder when planted in clumps. Flowering Feb-march

Iris histroides 'Beatrix Stanley'

Iris histroides ‘Beatrix Stanley’

Iris histriodes ‘Beatrix Stanley’- A clear sky blue flower with white feathered edges. A great iris for pots or for the alpine garden. Flowering Jan-March.

IIris reticulata 'White Caucasus'

Iris reticulata ‘White Caucasus’

Iris reticulata ‘White Caucasus’- A recent introduction this iris has clear white flowers and a yellow splash. It would be a dramatic combination with a deep purple crocus planted in a container. Flowering Feb-march.

 Iris retculata 'Spot on'

Iris retculata ‘Spot on’

Iris reticulata ‘Spot on’- A dark purple flower with white spotted falls that end in deep purple. This tiny flower packs well above it’s weight with these stunning flowers. Just made for a container near a front door to be admired closely. Flowering Feb-March

These tiny triumphs of the early spring are so delicate it is hard to imagine they can cope with the harsh weather of late winter and early spring. They are well worth their place on mass in a winter planting scheme, or planted in small groups in raised beds or containers where their delicate beauty can be fully enjoyed.

The Abundance of Blossom- Ornamental Cherries

Nothing says ‘Spring’ quite like clouds of white and delicate pink blossom, etched against a darkened April shower sky or the confetti of petals blowing in the spring breeze, than the many varieties of ornamental cherries. They are not just a few week wonder in spring either, many have attractive early foliage and dramatic autumn colour, but of course it is the billowing clouds of spring blooms that are their undoubtable star turn.

There are quite literately hundreds to choice from, so here is a selection of a few that I think are worth a space in your garden.

Small Garden Varieties: Prunus pensica ‘Pink Shell’, this long established variety produces a robust elegant small tree with graceful drooping branches with an abundance of delicate shell-pink flowers in dainty clusters. Flowering mid-season.

P. pensica 'Pink Shell'

P. pensica ‘Pink Shell’

Prunus serrula, this mop headed tree has the added interest of shiny mahogany coloured bark which adds an attractive element to the winter garden. This cherry has small clusters of white flowers in clusters in late April.


Special interest flowering cherries: You don’t have to wait all the way to spring to get your ‘blossom’ fix, Prunus subhivtella ‘Autumnalis’ will produce small neat light pink flowers along it’s stems from November through to March, and has great autumn colour as well. I would recommend planting a multi-stemed plant which will grow into a large shrub, that way it is at a perfect height to fully admire the ‘out of season’ blooms but also very handy for snipping the odd stem for a Christmas day centre piece on the dinning room table, it never fails to have that wow factor. Also think hard about the planting position, due to the low light levels to truly get the best out of the flowering, plant this Prunus with an evergreen backing shrub so the flowers really show up.

Prunus subhivtella 'Autumnalis'

Prunus subhivtella ‘Autumnalis’

P.subhivtella 'Autumnalis'

P.subhivtella ‘Autumnalis’

Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula Rosea’, This is a stunning variety with a graceful weeping habit crying out to be planted near water where the blossom can be reflected. Clusters of rich pink buds open to blush pink flowers in late March-early April.

Prunus subhivella 'Pendula

Prunus subhivella ‘Pendula Rosea’

Prunus ‘Amanogawa’, a small fastigiate habit tree, ideal for a very small garden or for the gardening ‘fastigiate fan’. Upright branches hug the tree trunk and produce clusters of fragrant semi-double soft pink flowers mid to late season.

Prunus 'Amanogawa'

Prunus ‘Amanogawa’

P. 'Amanogawa'

P. ‘Amanogawa’

Cherries for larger spaces: For those of you lucky enough to have the room then cherries really do come in large sizes with a majestic habit. Prunus sargentii, one of the loveliest of all garden varieties this hansom tree has a strong mop-headed habit with an abundance of single pink flowers produced in clusters late March to early April. The new leaves are a deep bronze fading to mid green. The tree has gorgeous autumn colours.

Prunus sargentii

Prunus sargentii



P.sergentii, autumn colour

P.sergentii, autumn colour

Prunus ‘Tai haku’ one of the most dramatic of the Japanese cherries the ‘Great white cherry’ has a wide spreading habit producing it’s branches almost in terries giving it a wonderful shape for the winter garden. Great clusters of very large single white flowers are produced along the branches giving a mass of flowers in mid season.

P.'Tai haku'

P.’Tai haku’

So now is the time to get out there and admire the flowering cherries, the earlys have gone the mid-season are still with us due to the cold snap and the lates are still to come. Take photos and names of the varieties you would like to give house room to. So you will be ready to order then in the late summer early autumn already for planting in the bare root season over the winter, ready for that marvellous spring display next April/May. If you need help with ordering and planting then give me a ring.

In Delight of the not so humble Daffodil

As the early snowdrops fade away the first real signs of spring emerge in the from of the often taken for granted daffodil. There is so much more to this wonderful genus of bulbs, than bright large custard yellow trumpets on stout stems. They come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and delicate colours and a long flowering season from January to May, there must surely be one to suit every one and most garden positions.

The Earlys; adding a brilliant splash of golden colour on a dreary January day.
Narcissi Rijnevels early sensation, is the earliest of them all and well worth a secluded spot near the house.

N.Rijnveld's early sensatio

N.Rijnveld’s early sensatio

Another of my faverate is the elegant N. ‘peeping Tom’ flowering January to

N.'Peeping Tom'

N.’Peeping Tom’

Of course one of the wondrous early spring sights is great sweeps of daffodils planted in lawns and under trees naturalising into great blocks of planting. These two varieties are well known for their ability to multiply.

Naturalising; N. mounthood, white outer petals with a cream trumpet, make this a good mid season faverate flowering in April.

N.mount hood

N.mount hood

N. poeticus recurrus, this is the old pheasant eye narcissi and is a late season sensation flowering in May, the delicate white outer petals make it ideal under planting in Orchards with blossom in flower at the same time.

N.poeticus recurrus

N.poeticus recurrus

For pots and rockeries, smaller varieties are needed.

Dwarf Varieties; N. Little Gem, a clear yellow, 15-20cm flowering in April.

N.Little Gem

N.Little Gem

N. Jack Snipe a good reliable variety with cream petals and a lemon trumpet 15cm flowering in March.

Scented Narcissi are an added treat for the early spring garden, plant them on the corner of paths or next to the back door, an enclosed courtyard will give maximum effect. Or just grow them to have as cut flowers; in a large jug with some spring stems of coloured dog wood and hazel with catkins, their scent will fill a room.

Scented Narcissi; N.fragrant Rose, a delicate variety with creamy petals and a rose pink central cup, very fragrant flowers, April.

N. Fragant Rose

N. Fragant Rose

N. cheerfulness, small creamy white, multi-headed double clusters are borne on each stem. Good scent, flowering in April.

N. Fragant Rose

N. Fragant Rose

So now is the time to get inspired take notes of the different varieties of daffodils you see flowering and what you may want to plant for next season. Also spot those areas of the garden where a bright daffodil splash will add that extra spring lift to your garden. They will tolerate most growing conditions apart from deep shade and water logging. The shorter varieties will even cope with quite exposed sites. You want to be ordering your bulbs August/September for October delivery, with planting up to beginning of December, but no latter.

So happy Narcissi spotting!