Jennifer Stackhouse’s expert advice on your spring garden.
Garden writer Jennifer Stackhouse’s advice on how to make the most of your spring garden.
( Asparagus officinalis) The tender green spears of asparagus push through the soil to welcome spring. Plant crowns (dormant roots) in winter or very early spring in a bed. Space crowns a metre apart. Male plants produce the fattest spears.
ASTILBE, FALSE SPIRAEA
( Astilbe x arendsii) Leaping to the world’s attention in Meghan Markle’s wedding bouquet, astilbe is a feathery flower of early spring. She favoured white flowers but astilbe comes in pink, mauve and red. Perfect for a shady spot in the garden.
( Malus ioensis ‘Plena’) This is one of the prettiest crabapple trees with clusters of double pink and white flowers in spring, followed by large bright green crabapples. It develops red to orange autumn colour and forms a round-headed tree.
( Callistemon ‘Mauve Mist’) Known for its bright bottlebrush-shaped flowers, the native bottlebrush can surprise. ‘Mauve Mist’ is a pretty shrub for a fast-growing feature plant or hedge. Enjoy its mauve flowers from spring to summer. Tolerates coastal conditions.
( Canna indica) Cannas grow from nothing to a clump of leafy canes as the weather warms. Stems are topped with bold orange, yellow, red or pink flowers. Some have colourful leaves. Water well when dry or plant in a wet position.
( Buxus microphylla var. japonica) Box is one of the world’s most popular hedging plants. Japanese box performs best in warm climates. It has larger leaves and lacks that tomcat smell of English box. Prune in spring after new growth hardens off.
( Protea ‘Pink Ice’) If you are given a bunch of flowers that features a protea, chances are it’s the variety ‘Pink Ice’. This is the most widely grown of all proteas and a long-lasting cut flower. Often considered a native, proteas are from South Africa.
( Syringa x persica) Lilac is a stand-out in spring when it’s laden with fragrant flowers. Persian lilac is a fast-growing shrub with panicles of soft mauve blooms. Unlike the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), this species tolerates warm conditions and acid soils.