I took over this garden by sea, last year. So whilst I’m currently working on a creating a new garden, I’m discovering what the existing spring garden planting has to offer.
This was clearly set up as a ‘low maintenance’ garden, so there was little of obvious interest already here – on the face of it just a few small leaved shrubs, clipped within an inch of their lives and two narrow, mean-spirited borders.
Nevertheless, almost any garden has something to offer and I’m discovering that there as some spring performers in the garden that are coming to the fore now. So I have featured the best of them here.
Chaenomeles speciosa, the flowering, ornamental or Japanese quince, is one of those early flowering shrubs that flowers on the previous years growth. The flowers usually appear before or just as the plant is coming into leaf and they are a striking sight in the early spring garden. Prune immediately after flowering if you want to remove any dead or diseased stems, or to shape the plant as you want it. This will give it enough time to put on the flowering growth for next year.
I’ve never been a huge daffodil fan. I’ve always been impatient for the perennials of summer to launch into growth. But after a long Scottish winter, the daffodils this year have seemed to be especially vibrant and showy. I think this is more about me being more attentive than anything inherent in the plants themselves. But there are two or three different varieties in the garden and I’m really pleased to see these pale specimens, which I prefer to the more obvious blowsy yellows.
I’m not even sure which Euphorbia species this is. It came with the garden and, in fact, seems to be a bit weedy, having taken over a fair part of one of the existing beds. Nevertheless, you can’t help but love the acid yellow flowers as it hits its peak this time of year. I love Euphorbia anyway and have just planted a Euphorbia mellifera – which is in my top 5 of all plants – and some Euphorbia grifithii ‘fireglow’. These are tiny specimens at present, but I’ll hopefully feature them as they grow.
Myositis sylvatica (forget me not) is a spring favourite. It is a perennial, natural to woodland settings (hence the name sylvatica, from the latin silva, meaning forest or woods). It has soft, hairy sticky looking leaves and it flowers between mid-spring and mid-summer. The flowers, which are small and of various shades of blue with yellow or white centres, are a magnet for butterflies and bees.
What is happening in your garden right now? Let us know in the comments below.
Martin Cole has been an avid gardener for more than 20 years and loves to talk and write about gardening. In 2006 he was a finalist in the BBC Gardener of the Year competition.
He previously lived in London and Sydney, Australia, where he took a diploma course in Horticultural studies and is now based in North Berwick in Scotland. He founded GardeningStepbyStep.com in 2012. The website is aimed at everybody who has been bitten by the gardening bug and wants to know more.
Gardening Step by Step has been cited by Thompson and Morgan, the UK’s largest mail order plant retailer, as a website that publishes expert gardening content.
Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.