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.
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.
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.
Another new design – it’s been a busy year – and we’re very proud of this one. Crisp and clean but highly functional it transformed the space for maximum use. Bespoke blue glass panels by LightKiln Glass set off the modern planting and slate paving.
Here’s the video showing the aerial views of the original design we produced for our client in Roath, Cardiff. All our designs are produced in three dimensions allowing our clients to fully appreciate and understand our vision for their garden. Here in Wales, where many gardens are on sloping sites, flat plans just don’t communicate the design.
We transformed this small garden in Roath, Cardiff into a modern and contemporary entertaining space. By removing the old garage that wasn’t really used we increased the overall space by more than a third allowing two separate areas – dining and cooking, as well as lush specimen planting.
Contrasting materials including sawn sandstone and composite decking were used to provide a clean crisp finish. Lighting and a water feature that works it’s way through the length of the garden completed the effect.
You can see more of this design and the finished garden here
If you think we could help you with a garden design or planting please Contact Us
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.