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There’s Something Astir In The Garden Already…

February 13, 2012

Early spring flowers are now awaking, starting to stir and will soon burst into bloom to give the garden some much-needed masses of colour to bring it alive. The sap is slowly starting to rise with the anticipation of a new season just around the corner and there are plenty of plants to look out for during the month of February.

Regular readers of my column will know that one of my favourite flowers is the Iris, and in February the early-flowering dwarf Iris makes its appearance. This dainty little flower grows only to a height of about six nar.jpginches and comes in a variety of colours from yellow, blue or purple and usually has pretty markings on its petals. They’re best grown in a sunny spot and perhaps in a raised bed or container so that their beauty can be admired at close hand.

One early flowing Narcissus is the Narcissus cyclamineus, the Wild Narcissus. This is also a very dainty plant and grows to six to eight inches tall and has golden yellow flowers with swept-backed petals. Grow this vigorous perennial bulb in rock or a woodland garden or alternatively you could naturalise it in your lawn.

The Crocus has been a favourite in many of our gardens and there is an early variety to start colouring up the garden this month called Crocus tommasinianus. This pretty goblet shaped flower comes in a choice of colours of white, lilac and purple.

Primrose-Polyanthus primulas are a very diverse group of winter to spring flowering perennial that come in a wide range of bright colours. They are commercially grown for bedding or containers to produce early flowering plants and they remind me of pretty small Victorian posies and are plants to look out for during this month.

One particular Clematis that’ll be coming into flower around now is thefreckles.jpg Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’. This late winter flowering Clematis has creamy-white flowers with delightful red speckles. Grow this in sun, although it will tolerate dappled shade against a wall or through a deciduous tree to give winter interest.

A very useful early flowering shrub for the garden is the Chaenomeles, or better known as the Ornamental Quince. It’s quite a versatile shrub as it can tolerate a shady site and can be grown in a shrub border or be trained against a wall. This shrub has lovely dense clusters of cup-shaped flowers which come in a variety of colours from white to various shades of pink or apricot through to more brash shades of red. This shrub provides autumn interest when it produces its small apple-like fruits, Quince.

Even in the last month of winter our gardens can produce a cheery colourful sight with early flowering plants… a sure true sign that spring is on its way.

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