Looking forward to spring colour
By Paul Hervey-Brookes
Each season in the garden is appreciated for different reasons but spring offers one of the best transitions of the year. Warmer air, tiny green buds appearing and suddenly early spring bloomers pop out in a spark of colour in a still bare garden.
Here are some of our favorites to consider adding over the next few dark weeks. Remember, however, that plants are often just part of the story and gardens rely on hard working plants and landscaping. So if you are planning a new broom in the new year order your paving samples now to live with them for a few weeks whilst you see which really suit you.
Bridal wreath Spiraea is a deciduous shrub that has delicate arching branches that in the spring erupt into a mass of tiny white blossoms. Easy to grow and propagate, this plant looks lovely in any garden and flowers best when we need it most, just after a winter chill.
Camellia Japonica is a large evergreen shrub whose foliage adds colour all year but the blooms start peeking out during the winter months. In spring they are covered with beautiful rose-like blooms that will last well into summer.
Flowering Quince is a rather nondescript, tangled, deciduous shrub. That is except for in spring when it explodes and shows off its beautiful red blossom.
Japanese flowering cherry come in several varieties and are grown for their blossom, not fruit. They have an interesting rounded umbrella shape and can grow up to 20ft tall.
Lenten Rose is the lovely name for Helleborous orientalis. This may not be the prettiest of the bunch but it is a subtle perennial that blooms just in time for the Lenten season with beautiful long lasting flowers. Suited to a shady spot, these Lenten roses nod their heads and invite you to take a peek!
The Magnolia or Tulip tree as it is sometimes called begins to bud in the autumn and in early spring the tree will be covered in big waxy blossoms that drip from the branches. When they fall they give a lovely carpet of petals. This tree loves full sun to grow in but does enjoy a little afternoon shade.
During the winter months, some plants remain evergreen. One of these plants is the very adaptable Periwinkle that will grow in full sun or shade. Fast growing but not too tall, it shows its pretty, small periwinkle-blue flowers in the spring.
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