Gardening

Spring plants for your plot

EADT Suffolk - - Inside -

MARCH is the month we’ve all been wait­ing for – spring has of­fi­cially ar­rived. We look for­ward to warmer days, but snow, frost, or tor­ren­tial rain are not un­usual. There is no way of know­ing what is head­ing our way, but one thing is for sure: the flow­ers be­long­ing to this month can cope with any­thing and promise to add colour and that feel­ing of spring, what­ever the weather.

It’s an ex­cit­ing time for gar­den­ers with gar­den cen­tres and nurs­eries fill­ing their shelves with bright and cheery spring flow­ers. Pan­sies and prim­u­las are at the front of the queue when it comes to colour choice. How­ever, no March gar­den would be com­plete with­out daf­fodils. The daf­fodil has long been a sym­bol of new be­gin­nings and the start of spring. There’s hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent daf­fodils to choose from, but if space is an issue, look no fur­ther than the dwarf daf­fodil ‘Tete a Tete’. Plant it with blue mus­cari and your pots and win­dow boxes will of­fer weeks of colour. Al­though the bulbs of these plants should be planted in au­tumn, they can be bought as pot­ted plants now.

For a shady spot that needs some cheer, helle­bores bring un­de­ni­able sparkle. These peren­ni­als will of­fer years of in­ter­est and in time spread. Choose an area of dap­pled shade with a well-drained soil for suc­cess. En­joy­ing the same con­di­tions are the snake’s head frit­il­lary (Fri­t­il­laria me­lea­gris). Again, a bulb that can be planted in au­tumn, but plants are also avail­able now. These dainty plants will seed in time and cre­ate nat­u­ral drifts through the bor­der. Both shade lovers will pro­vide valu­able early nec­tar for bees.

Anemones are also a pop­u­lar choice for dap­pled shade. There are many dif­fer­ent types of anemones, but the ones that bring early spring cheer and thrive un­der de­cid­u­ous shrubs are the Amenome nemorosas. The flow­ers range from pure white to soft pink and pale blue. A favourite is the dou­ble white ‘Vestal’ and like all the other wood­land anemones, pro­duces flow­ers just a few cen­time­tres from the ground.

Mov­ing from ground level to eye level there are many spring flow­er­ing shrubs to add to your bor­ders. Some camel­lias will be in flower as early as Fe­bru­ary, but most come into their own in March. Camel­lias need an er­i­ca­ceous com­post if grow­ing in pots or an acid soil if planted in the gar­den. White, red, and pink flow­ers are for the tak­ing, but a pop­u­lar and re­li­able choice is the pink flow­er­ing Camel­lia ‘Do­na­tion’.

Chaenome­les (flow­er­ing quince) also of­fer colour this month and make won­der­ful wall shrubs. The pink, red or white flow­ers ap­pear be­fore the fo­liage. For ap­ple blos­som pink flow­ers choose Chaenome­les speciosa ‘Mo­er­loo­sei’. If daf­fodil yel­low is more your colour, then for­sythia will fit the bill. This pop­u­lar shrub will grow in nearly any as­pect or type of soil and even­tu­ally reaches 1.5m.

Spend a lit­tle time and ef­fort on your gar­den now and the re­sults will of­fer you so much plea­sure. The gardening sea­son is un­der­way so dust off your trowel and join in the fun.

Helle­bores

Above: Daf­fodils Left: Anemone Be­low: Camel­lia

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