Hardy shrubs for spring colour

Gar­den­ing ex­pert Lucy Hewett talks about the per­fect spring flow­er­ing shrub duo and the bat­tle of the blue­bells

Kent Messenger Maidstone - West Kent Property - - BEAUTIFULHOMES -

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.

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