Updated for 2016
It’s still cold outside but gradually we are starting to feel the start of Spring
An unusual flowering and scented plant for early Spring is the Witchhazel – Hamamelis Mollis. The spidery deep yellow flowers cover the bare branches of this shrub from December until late March and the flowers are highly perfumed. Often Witch Hazel branches are used in floristry due to their elegant contemporary appearance.
Camellia Japonica is a must have shrub for every garden wanting flowers in early to late Spring. Although not scented this small to medium sized evergreen shrub has beautiful and colourful flowers which appear at the start of Spring once the weather starts to warm up from February through to April. The same also applies to the array of deciduous Magnolias and Viburnums which generally have soft pastel coloured flowers. Magnolia Soulangeana is one of the most popular deciduous magnolias which can take on a tree like appearance over many years. The large foliage is dark green from Spring to late Autumn and the flowers are white with tinges of dark pink.
Often used at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show another favourite early flowering plant is Viburnum Plicatum Mariesii which gradually grows in tiers or layers. Each layer is covered with an abundance of delicate white flowers in late Spring. This is a shrub often used by exhibitors at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show because it is in flower at the end of May and is always popular with the visitors. It is also known as the Japanese Snowball Bush and is often used in conjunction with other Japanese plants such as nandina domestica and cryptomeria japonica.
One of the best early flowering trees is the Prunus Cerasifera Serrulata or Cherry Plum. This tree has pretty pink flowers in early Spring and then the most incredible dark purple leaves from around March to November. It is deciduous (ie loses its leaves in late winter) but generally keeps it leaves longer than many other deciduous trees and shrubs. In the same family is the Prunus Serrulata which has a glossy bronze coloured bark – single or multi-stemmed these trees as known as the Japanese Cherry and have year round interest as the leaves change from green to orange to red in late autumn before falling.
The trees and shrubs above are just a small selection of some of the wonderful plants available during early to late Spring. Any plant able to cheer us up (and the garden) at this time of year is always cherished.