Country Living (UK)



Regularly reassess your trees and shrubs and cut out any branches crossing or casting too much shade.

Choose scented spring shrubs – Osmanthus x

burkwoodii, witch hazels,

Corylopsis spicata and

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’.

To keep back soil from gravel paths, edge beds with plants such as glossy-leaved wild ginger Asarum europaeum, London pride (Saxifraga x urbium) and evergreen ferns.

Select the best varieties of old favourites such as pulmonaria. ‘Blue Ensign’ has plain green leaves and gentian-blue flowers; ‘Diana Clare’ has silvery-green leaves and violet-blue flowers.

Follow white tulips with long-lasting, showy snapdragon­s eg Antirrhinu­m majus ‘Admiral White’ and filigree-leaved umbellifer Ammi visnaga.

Semi-evergreen berberis, eg Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpur­ea ‘Dart’s Red Lady’, makes a useful low hedge for defining areas.

To decide planting positions for clumps of tulips, dot the borders with upturned plastic pots of the appropriat­e height to represent them and stand back to assess any gaps.

Honesty (Lunaria annua) is much underrated. Use it for its pretty purple flowers followed by translucen­t papery seed heads. ‘Chedglow’ and ‘Corfu Blue’ are varieties to look out for. Source Cyclamen hederifoli­um in pots, as bare corms have often dried out when you buy them.

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