Early spring plants

My snowdrops are out in flower!
Despite the weather,( it’s still really cold here in Lincolnshire and has been snowing and hailing today, )the small white flower has put on a great display to remind me that spring is not too far away. If only the weather would take some notice!

There are a number of plants which will flower through the winter but I always feel that early spring flowers are among the best there are, both for theit looks and their perfume.

Some of the flowers do not smell very much – Crown Imperials are among these. You can get them in red and yellow and they grow from bulbs in most soils. Planted with dafoldils and narcissi, they reliably flower giving a display to rival almost any other.

Lower to the ground, Aubretia and primulas will look great. They will both grow in most soils, in the case of aubretia in very little soil and  they do not mind not being in full sunshine. Aubretia is such a useful plant, covering banks and in rock gardens. They come in a variety of colours ranging through reds and purples. Some of my primulas have flowered all winter, whilst the more colourful ones will start to flower imminently. Primulas have been hybridised to provide such a wide range of colours they will fit into any flower scheme.

If you are looking for scent in your spring flowers, then you cannot do better than to grow hyacinths. They have an intense fragrance and will grow in most soils, they do like a sunny position though. Honeysuckle is another spring flowering plant which will give you good fragrance. They are naturally a rampant evergreen climber which is useful to mask areas of garden from each other. The larger hybrids grow up to 30 ft (9metres) although this can be kept controlled by regular pruning. There is now a new hybrid (labelled as a patio flower) which is supposed only to grow up to 3 ft (1 metre). It is designed to grow in pots on the patio and trained up wigwams of stakes. I have it in my garden and so far it has treached 5 ft!

If you have acid soil, clematis is a wonderful shrub. It looks very exotic but is fully hardy. Don’t plant it where it gets full early morning sun though, it does not like full sunshine on its frosty leaves. Camelias grow up to 6ft and will spread up to 11 ft. in good conditions, but like most shrubs can be pruned to the shape and size you want.

If, like me, you enjoy loking at spring flowers, there are a number of gardens which are open to the public. Among these are special walks for snowdrops as well as gardens created to especially enjoy spring. Many of these gardens are opened to help charities and this is known as NGS (National garden scheme).

They have a book devoted to the gardens giving details of opening times, descriptions of the garden and maps of how to get to them, in fact everything you need to know. The book is called ‘The yellow book’ and for anybody looking for inspiration for their garden, or who just enjoys looking at gardens, it is worth getting a copy.

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