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Archive for the ‘Spring plants’ Category

A friend asked me what could she plant to give her interest in her South London garden at this time of the year, and heading towards Spring, and I came out with some hopefully useful suggestions (below), but I forgot to mention Vinca difformis ssp. sardoa (above). What a great plant for winter colour!

And evergreen foliage, which always looks vibrant and fresh. Its generous-sized flowers are a very pleasing pale violety blue, which flower from December until April or May and then again intermittently for the rest of the year. What’s not to love! This is no delicate little periwinkle. It’s a robust plant that grows to about 60cm high and it’s even starting scrambling much higher up an old tree trunk. As with other Vincas, it’s happily romping away in its shady spot, but it’s easy to pull up (and transplant elsewhere) if it’s getting a little too exuberant.

And she could also plant: Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ for a delicate wee flower and a stonkingly sweet scent,

Sarcococcas for more ‘knock-your-socks-off’ perfume (also with evergreen foliage),

Hellebores (this one above is the very upright ‘Anna’s Red’) flowering from now and well into March,

snowdrops popping up around now and into February/March (try Eurobulbs for great -‘in the green’ snowdrops to plant in March for next year’s display),

rich Chaenomeles blooms (aka flowering quince) for late February,

which I saw as gorgeous front garden hedging in Stockwell last year

(red and white varieties equally stunning-and great for supplying early nectar),

crocuses in Feb,

and Cardimine quinquefolia for delicate lilac flowers in March.

Plus all your Narcissi, Daffodils and Jonquils from now until April and May (start ordering bulbs for these in September for autumn planting). Above is Narcissus cantabricus, which I espied at Wisley back in 2014.

P.S. The lovely Wendy Shillam @Rooftopvegplot also suggests planting an autumn/winter flowering Cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella Autumnalis) for beautifully delicate flowers at this time of year. She’s not wrong.Thanks Wendy!

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Helmi Daffs uprightLast year, all but a few of these ‘Rijnvelds Early Sensation’ daffodils came up blind. It was only their second year, but they’d been cruelly cut down (well, mowed actually) straight after flowering the previous year and they hadn’t had the time to build up strength for future blooms.

On seeing this dismal display last February, they were liberally sprinkled with Growmore, and requests given not to mow the lawn again until all of their foliage had completely died back.

Delighted to see how well they’re flowering again (if a tad early, even for these early bloomers).

Just need to keep that mower at bay……

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Pittosporum illiciodes v. angustifolium

I’m a big fan of the Pittosporum genus and was delighted to find such a gorgeous airy specimen two years ago at the RHS spring show on the Crug Farm stand.

Pittosporum illiciodes var angustifolium

I bought this evergreen shrub to screen my compost bin, and although it’s a little slower than I had imagined, it’s still coming along nicely. This spidery Pittosporum will grow in sun or part shade, with its leaves elongating in more shadier spots, and it also has, yet to be seen, small yellow flowers. To be honest, it’s getting a bit more shade than I originally planned for, as I’ve let a Clematis montana scramble up into a nearby small apple tree and it’s blocking out a fair amount of light. So as soon as the horizontal sleety/snowy rain is over, I might venture out to carefully start untangling the climber from the tree.

Pittosporum tennuifolium flowers

Not far away is a Pittosporum tennuifolium, merrily romping away (well over 6 ft and still growing) in a dryish shady spot under another apple tree. Last April I was stopped in my tracks by the scent from its tiny black flowers, and I’m eager to see, when my P. illiciodes does flower, if the tiny yellow blooms will also pack a punch.

Snowdrops on Avon Bulbs Stand

So if you’re on the lookout for some unusual shrubs or want to stock up on spring-flowering bulbs and perennials, The RHS London plant and design show is fast approaching again (19th and 20th February), where Crug Farm, Avon Bulbs (above) and many other nurseries will be exhibiting and selling many a tempting plant. After such a damp and miserable winter, I’ll definitely be making the trip for a joyful taste of things to come.

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