Spring is that season when suddenly the days seem to get longer, the sun comes out a little more and occasionally you get to sit in the garden without freezing. More importantly you can start clearing up the garden, doing the last bits of pruning and look forward to plants coming to life. But of course flowers have already started to show in the garden and there is nothing better than doing your gardening amongst big swathes of daffodils and tulips.
I'm a big fan of spring bulbs because they are the one sure way of getting really early colour into your garden. Plants such as Narcissus "February Gold" do what they say on the packet, consistently flowering in early February and sometimes even in January.
You can plant a whole range of varieties of daffodil to get flowers right through to May. Whilst you'd be wise to wait until the Autumn planting season to plant much cheaper dry bulbs you can still buy bulbs in flower at this time of year and plant them in the garden. At the price they are you might just want a few and feature them in a pot. I'd avoid Hyacinths and Tulips because most don't come back the following year but Narcissus are fine for naturalising and the bulbs I plant in my window boxes go into the garden as soon as they finish each year.
But there are plenty of other great spring flowers that you can get right now and will keep giving you pleasure for years to come. Small garden shrubs like Salix hastata "Wehrhahnii" with deep purple stems and silver-grey catkins are great. A real favourite is Deutzia gracilis with pure white flowers borne in upright clusters amid bright green foliage and the stunningly fragrant Daphnes like Daphne x burkwoodii "Somerset" and Daphne mezereum.
You can also plant perennial herbaceous plants now and have them flowering in just a few weeks. Early Spring flowers such as some of the perennial Geraniums like Geranium phaeum sometimes known as the mourning widow, Symphytum and Darmera peltata the latter being a great plant for margins of ponds which given how wet the winter has been must be a winner.
And finally what about planting a new tree this spring? We know how great autumn colours can be but why not pick a tree that also gives you great spring blossom like many of the ornamental cherries. The Fuji cherry Prunus incisa or Prunus "Ukon" . A little used tree or large shrub in the UK is the Judas tree Cercis siliquastrum that if you fancy planting one you should take a look at the variety Cercis siliquastrum "Forest Pansy". And with all of us interested in growing more of our own food, don't forget about the apple family and trees like Malus "John Downie" for it's great spring blossom.
If you're looking out of the window right now and there's not a sign of colour in your garden there's no reason for it. Get yourself along to one of the great local garden centres we have or take a trip a local open garden. Get inspired and get gardening!
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