Look out in other gardens for great bulbs to grow for next spring. This Grape Hyacinth called Muscari Azureum is a clear soft blue that is recommended for naturalising.
Muscari Valerie Finnis is also blue whilst most of the other species and varieties flower in shades of purple.
Muscari grow well in pots where the foliage can look interesting.
I have not tried Album or Botryoides Album both white Grape or Feather Hyacinths, nor the new scented yellow Golden Fragrance.
Abeliophyllum distichum also called White Forsythia is more refined than traditional yellow Forsythia to which it is distantly related, both being part of the Olive family.
Growing White Forsythia
Abeliophyllum distichum AGM is native to Korea and produces clusters of fragrant, creamy white flowers which emerge in late winter or early spring before the leaves.
Trained against a sunny wall, Abeliophyllum distichum will grow 3-6 feet tall. It can be rather untidy and lax if grown in a border
Prune after flowering to within 2-5 buds to make a permanent framework and encourage new wood for flowering next year.
Grow in full sun or light shade in average soil 3-4ft apart. Feed with a balanced fertiliser once a year in early spring
Can be underplanted with Scilla sibirica, Muscari or species Crocus for a lovely early spring display.
Abeliophyllum distichum roseum group is the seldom seen pink form. According to Junker’s nursery ‘It is sometimes called “Pink Forsythia” but this reflects more its time of flowering than either its colour or parentage! A very pretty plant that stays quite small, rarely more than 3 feet tall’.
Spring is known for colourful bulbs and primula but there are many top shrubs that provide great colour in spring.
Forsythia The yellow flowering twiggy shrub that can grow to 10 feet. It flowers before the leaves form and is a strong, bright yellow. Large blossom varieties are now being cultivated but either way you get a mass of bloom.
Rhododendron Evergreen shrubs of many forms and sizes from 12 inches to 12 foot. Some bloom from March and some in May. Many sizes and colors exist and one range is named after Snowwhite’s seven dwarfs.
Ribes sanguineum Red Flowering Currant 6′ by 4′ This easy deciduous shrub flowers in panicles of red or pink in March and April.
Mahonia aquifolium ‘Compacta’Oregon Grape Evergreen shrubs with spiky leaves grow to several feet tall. Yellow flowers in February and March with good scent. It also produces black edible berries. …
As winter deepens we know that bright colourfull Camellia shrubs and small trees will soon burst forth.
Waxy flowers of Camellia ‘Satans Robe’ and the even more waxy leaves of the camellias are one of the early joys in the spring garden. There is a range of camellias to suit most conditions and if you can’t find the lime free soil most varieties need they will grow in a pot of ericaceous compost. Flowers vary in size upto 5 inches across in yellow, red, white and pink.
Some Camellia Species
Camellia Japonica, Sasanqua and Reticulata have special sections with some of the best varieties descibed or selected below
Hellebore niger seem later this year or is it just me? Either way you need to get down on your knees to see the best of the Hellebore flowers as they tend to hang the flower-heads to hide their modesty.
Grow Hellebores on raised beds or sloping banks so you have a chance to see the flowers.
Pick the flowers for a vase and see their intricacy close up.
Plant Helleborus x sternii ‘Blackthorn’ with the upright growth habit of Helleborus argutifolius or Helleborus ‘Boughton Beauty’, Helleborus ‘Rachel’ and Helleborus ‘Winter’s Grace’. Suggestions from Hellbore.com
Helleborus foetidus the stinking Hellebore is upright with a green flower.
After scenting the flowers of the Witch Hazel look up and see the glorious patterns they form against a blue sky. Fortunately there are generally masses of bloom before the leaves appear and you can see patterns of petals from numerous buds.
The flower colour, particularly in the hybrids can range from pale yellow, orange through to red and many of them have good scent, from sweet to spicy.
A good photographic display of the following can be found on Witch Hazel nursery Hamamelis x intermedia, Hamamelis japonica, Hamamelis mollis, Hamamelis vernalis and Hamamelis virginiana.