Hardy shrubs for spring colour
Gardening expert Lucy Hewett talks about the perfect spring flowering shrub duo and the battle of the bluebells
Having provided us with invaluable spring colour, japanese quince and forsythia, pictured right, will need a prune straight after they have finished flowering.
The japanese quince, or chaenomeles japonica, is guaranteed to brighten any spot in your garden.
With bright flame coloured flowers, it reaches a height of 100cm x 200cm.
It is able to tolerate any soil and situation so will happily lighten up a shady wall.
It also has thorny stems so is excellent if security is needed.
And it bears quinces that can be made into jelly!
If yellow is your thing, forsythia is the one for you.
An easy to grow, trouble free shrub growing up to 2 metres it can be planted and virtually neglected! It is fully hardy and can also tolerate any aspect.
Prune straight after flowering.
Fighting the corner for the native bluebell against the Spanish bluebell?
The flowers of the native bluebell are narrower and they droop from one side of the stem. The anthers, or pollen-producing parts, are creamy white and the leaves are narrow. The anthers of the Spanish bluebell are pale to dark blue and the leaves are wider. These glorious flowering trees and shrubs whose blooms range from goblet-sized deep red purples to starry whites can be used effectively as standalone specimens and in borders. Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’, for instance, is an ideal compact tree which could make a focal point in a small garden, bearing goblet-shaped deep red-pink flowers in late spring. Magnolia stellata, the star magnolia, is the smallest spring-flowering type and one of the most popular, named for its white star-shaped blooms. M. x soulangeana produces tulipshaped blush white flowers, flushed purple-pink at the base. The evergreen M. grandiflora grows to 3m x 1.8m, producing large creamy white lemonscented flowers in summer. Magnolias prefer neutral to acid soil and the deciduous varieties love clay.