Although there are some lovely Primulas available in the garden centres with bright colours we tend to only use them in winter containers. We much prefer the native form Primula vulgaris which, with it’s pale yellow flowers and clump forming habit is a great addition at the base of trees, shrubs and hedges.
Appearing in early spring at the same time as the first daffodils they light up a dark corner and need to be lifted and divided every few years (do this Sept – April).
“Primrose” is ultimately from Old French primerose or medieval Latin prima rosa, meaning first “rose” Make sure you buy from a reputable source and never pick them in the wild. To prevent excessive damage to the species, picking of primroses or the removal of primrose plants from the wild is illegal
One of our favourite spring perennials is Dicentra spectabilis commonly known as Bleeding Heart. It thrives in a semi shady spot but can thrive in full sun as long as the soil stays moist. It can work well either front or mid border. The unusual flowers stand out in the garden and stay around during the whole spring and into the summer.
For those who don’t want the vibrant pink flowers the white cultivar Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ is well worth considering.
Slow growing and gorgeous the Magnolia stellata is a perfect specimen for a small garden. The beautiful white flowers appear in early spring before the bright green leaves. If you get close, you’ll be able to catch it’s scent.
Contrast it against a dark evergreen background either in a border or a large container. It likes a a bit of ericaceous (acidic) compost but is not too fussy.
Cultivars are available, some of which have traces of pink in the flowers. Magnolia stellata ‘Rubra’ actually has dark pink flowers.
One of our favourite plants for difficult shady spots is Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’. It works particularly well at the base of hedges or trees where the foliage really stands out. Grown for its foliage that appears in the early spring and stays until the winter sets in. In the spring dainty blue forget-me-not type flowers appear on slender stems.
We grow a number of plants in small quantities to use in our clients gardens (and our own too!). Mainly we grow varieties that are difficult to get from suppliers or that you can only get at certain times of the year. This means that we can plant them as part of a project even if they are not in season
We also buy and pot up plants that are only available at certain times (e.g. Snowdrops) so that we can include them in clients planting schemes any time during the year. We do this as part of our Planting Projects as well as part of our Seasonal Maintenance Services
Here in Wales the snow has gone for the time being (fingers crossed!). The snowdrops are starting to appear. We put over a thousand snowdrops in clients gardens last year – they must be planted “in the green” – i.e. as plants rather than bulbs if you want them to be successful.
Here’s a nice spring planting combination. Tulipa ‘Pink Diamond’ with Lithodora ‘Heavenly Blue’. There ia also Juniperus ‘Blue Star’ to the left of the photo too. Lithodora is a great plant though it needs trimming every so often to stop it getting woody. This combination was an experiment. We’ll be adding more Pink Diamonds this autumn.
You know that Spring is on the way when you catch a glimpse of a clump of snowdrops. These fantastic hardy woodland plants are traditionally seen as one of the first signs of winter’s passing. To grow them successfully though they must be planted “in the green” – i.e. as plants rather than as bulbs. Don’t be tempted to buy as dry bulbs as the majority will probably fail. And once you buy them as plants get them in the ground quick.
We buy snowdrops from specialist growers around this time of year and look to offer them to our clients through the spring. Planted en masse they look great. And you can plant them in the lawn as they’ll have finished their cycle by the time it comes to give the lawn it’s first cut.
Another tip is to plant the double form Galathus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ which for mass plantings bulks and divides more quickly. If they do come up “blind” (i.e. they don’t flower) in the first year, don’t worry, they will the next year and every year after that.