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Magnolia Rustica Rubra
Magnolia Black Tulip
If you are ordering plants for collection you are not limited to perennials. Some of the best looking plants right now are the spring flowering shrubs like magnolias and cherry blossoms. Two especially nice magnolias already starting to flower are the pale pink Magnolia ‘Rustica Rubra’ and deep purple Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’, with several more hot on their heels. These two specifically make small to medium sized trees, approx. 4-5m tall, with M. ‘Rustica Rubra’ a wider goblet shape from the ground, and M. ‘Black Tulip’ beginning narrower and filling out with age.
For cherry trees, everyone is familiar with the large varieties you often see arching over driveways. Perhaps less well known are the dwarf ornamental varieties such as Prunus ‘Kojo-no-mai’. These are slow growing, vase-shaped shrubs which are very effective as anchor plants in a border and are covered with white flowers in spring before the leaves emerge. We have two sizes available: Large plants c.180cm tall and smaller plants just 20cm tall which would be excellent for pots.
Acer palmatum Seiryu
Acer palmatum Red Emperor
Acer palmatum Katsura
Japanese maples are widely regarded for their spectacular autumn colour, but for me, this is the time of year when I love them the most. Just as the buds burst but before the leaves open full every branch seems to shimmer in the morning and evening sun. We currently have a large selection of Japanese maples and are happy to help you select the perfect variety for your garden.
Edgeworthia Red Dragon
One of the more unusual spring-flowering shrubs is Edgeworthia. First grown as a curiosity, they are hardy in a sheltered sunny spot where winters are mild and they reward you with brilliant intensely fragrant flowers. We have the yellow- flowered Edgeworthia chrysantha in small and large sizes and a handful of the rare red-flowered variety E. ‘Red Dragon’.
Pulmonaria Blue Ensign
Brunnera Jack Frost
While it may still be early in the season, there are still lots of perennials looking good now. For shadier spots, plants like Pulmonarias are lovely with sprays of flowers in various blues above attractive, often silver-flecked foliage. Also with blue flowers and silver leaves, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, the larger Brunnera ‘Alexanders Great’, and the rare true Siberian bugloss, Brunnera siberica are very good at this time of year and brighten up shady areas.
Veronica Georgia Blue
Euphorbia amydaloides Purpurea
Euphorbia characias Wulfenii
In sunnier locations, Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’, an underused evergreen ground cover for sun with purple-tinted leaves and masses of blue flowers is very good at the moment. Spring is also a time for evergreen Euphorbias. The low spreading Euphorbia myrsinites is a perfect rock garden and gravel plant. The purple-leaved Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ has acid yellow flowers and grows in sun and some shade. The larger Euphorbia characias hybrids, ‘Wulfenii’ and ‘Blue Wonder’ are a dramatic statement plant for sunny borders.
Pulsatillas are dainty looking but tough alpines with large purple flowers followed by beautiful seed heads. Grow them in full sun in a rockery. Also fabulous for naturalising in a gravel garden are the spring flowering Anemone pavonina. For damper, shadier spots, the common cowslip, Primula veris are just beginning to flower.
These are just a few of the shrubs and perennials starting to shine. And now is of course a great time to plant summer flowering perennials and grasses to enjoy later. Please see our catalogue for more and we can put your order together for contactless collection.