Some of the most popular garden shrubs for early spring are the flowering currants. These easy to grow shrubs, originally brought back from America by David Douglas, add a splash of colour to the spring garden when many shrubs are still waking up. One of the newer varieties, Ribes
sanguineum ‘Koja’ is more compact than most, growing to around 2m tall. It produces its bright crimson/ pink flowers in mid to late spring. A lovely white variety, ‘Elkingtons
White’, has good, strong, upright stems with masses of green buds in early spring which open into drooping clusters of pure white flowers. A good variety for a shadier spot is Ribes
Brocklebankii which has pink flowers and brilliant golden yellow foliage which is best shaded from the hot afternoon sun to prevent scorch.
Ribes will grow in most garden soils including chalk; if the soil is very light mulch in spring to keep the moisture in. Pruning is best done in spring as soon as flowering has finished as Ribes flower on the previous year’s growth.
Ribes sanguineum ‘Koja’
Ribes sanguineum ‘Elkington’s White’
Ribes Brocklebankii (flower)