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Let’s Shake Off The Past Winter

March 7, 2012

Spring for me begins in earnest when all the cheerful bright yellow daffodils and early tulips come out in flower and have a stretch and a yawn from their winter slumber. This is such a welcome sight and one that I’ve waited so long for.

Spring is my favourite season as the days get longer and the weather very slowly starts to warm up; definitely a time for shaking off those winter blues.

Regular readers of this column will know that in my own garden I have a Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ and now it’s blooming with masses of scented pale pink saucer shaped flowers… truly a welcome sight of spring as it looks super festooned over my garage.

feb2.jpgThis is lovely early flowering evergreen Clematis with spear shaped dark glossy leaves and if you want to have some colour later in the season then you can grow a late flowering Clematis through it.

A beautiful specimen tree for great spring interest is the Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock’. This is a Willow that has a lovely weeping habit and grows to a full height of only six feet, so it’s a good tree for a small garden. This Willow produces pretty grey catkins that are studded with yellow anthers on bare shoots and I think it looks absolutely stunning.

For bold foliage and showy flowers from mid-winter to mid-spring you could go for the elegant Camellia. Camellias come wide chose of colours from white, yellows and in a vast variety of shade of pink through to reds.

This evergreen shrub grows naturally in acid soil but will tolerate neutral soil as long as it’s rich with organic matter. The Camellia can be grown in sun or dappled shade, but plant it somewhere that it is shielded from the early morning sun, as the sun may damage flowers in frosty weather.

One of the early flowering perennials is the Pulmonaria or known as the Lungwort. This flowering plant makes good ground cover. Most varieties prefer a moist shady border but the Pulmonaria officinalis will tolerate full sun.

Many Lungworts are often semi-evergreen and some varieties have decorative leaves with silver or white spots on. The flower is small and dainty and comes in a choice of colours from white, pink, violet, purple, blue and red.

If you are tempted by a visit to the garden centre to buy a beautiful bright early flowering Rhododendron, then it’s best to keep it in a container with ericaceous acid soil and in the growing season give it some nutrients with an ericaceous feed.

For the garden it is the start of the new season and a profusion of spring flowers will soon be brightening up our gardens. Like I say, it’s time to shake off those winter blues and to get outside into the garden for some welcome spring gardening.

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