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 the best things about this time of the year is that plants with scent and flowers stand out because you’re just not expecting them. Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is one such plant.
Easy to grow and maintain it will get up to 8 -10 foot as a multi stemmed shrub or can be kept smaller if required. The beautifully scented flowers appear sometimes as early as November and continue right through into the spring when the mid green foliage takes over.
Depending on the weather the plant can get quite nice autumn colour too before dropping it’s leaves.
‘Dawn’ works best against a dark background or as a focal point. Position it in a spot that you walk past regularly or near a window or door to get the most of the heavenly scent.
The pictures above were taken in January and as you can see the flowers were really getting going.
This garden swept around two sides of a house in St Mellons, Cardiff. A new conservatory had been added to the house and the client wanted a total reworking of the garden. We designed a sequence of crescent shaped curved layers to provide a set of flowing forms around the house.
A patio sighted for the late afternoon and early evening sunshine was raised to catch the last rays of the sun and adjacent was a small wildlife pond with an integrated and lit cascade.
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.