March Tips & Advice

Stunning Spring Gardens

Forsythia x intermedia

Every garden should have its own spring stunners and some are so space-efficient that no one need go without their own personal display! What a welcome sight our spring flowering shrubs are as they celebrate the lengthening days and rising temperatures. A confident burst of flowers now exactly fits the gathering momentum of spring.

Take, for example, Forsythia x intermedia ‘Spectabilis’. This is an upright shrub reaching 3m in height that will as happily grow up a wall, in a shrub border or as part of a hedge. It produces abundant, deep yellow flowers on bare stems just when the garden needs them most and really is the perfect plant for a reliable splash of yellow at this time of year. It’s an adaptable plant and will do well in most moderately fertile garden soils in a full sun or lightly shaded position. Forsythia ‘Northern Gold’ is another great choice. A little smaller at 2-2.5m in height, it’s great where space is limited. Forsythia is fully hardy.

Cherry blossom is one of those really exuberant statements that spring has arrived. We all have our favourites, be it the bright pink blossom of ‘Cheal’s Weeping’ or the white of ‘Praecox’ (Prunus incisa). There are plenty of smaller ornamental cherries to choose from that provide a wonderful show. For example, Cheal’s Weeping’ should only reach a maximum height and spread of 3m. For gardeners with the luxury of space, Prunus ‘Kursar’ grows into a fine tree with a height and spread of 8m. It produces profuse clusters of dark pink flowers before the leaves develop.

 Magnolia is a star performer. Some of the nation’s favourites are magnolias and it’s easy to see why. For reliable flowering and a wonderful range of options in terms of blooms, they score very highly. Some, like Magnolia stellata, can be very successful in pots. Look out particularly for this, as well as Soulangeana, ‘Susan’, or ‘Leonard Messel’. Magnolias will be easy to spot in your garden centres at the moment. They do best on neutral to acid soils.

Our final spring stunner, Camellia, is an elegant shrub and very much an acid soil lover. Good sized containers are a great way to enjoy them if your soil would otherwise not be suitable. There’s a wonderful range of species and cultivars to choose from. Camellia japonica (Common camellia) offers loads of possibilities in terms of colours, leaf forms etc.

Material courtesy of www.the-hta.org

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