As the winter flowering trees like Hamamelis and Chimonanthus start to leaf out, a new season of flowering trees and shrubs begin in early spring. The most dramatic of these must be the Magnolias. Fine spidery flowers or large palm sized goblets, subtle whites and pinks to deep purples, they are perhaps the most decadent of flowering trees and mature to fine trees, most of which can be accommodated in any medium- to large-sized garden. They are also one of the most ancient flowering plants.
At Mount Venus Nursery, we have a large selection of classic and unusual magnolias, from Magnolia stellata with clear white flowers, perfect for a small garden or even a large container, to larger landscape trees like Magnolia ‘Daybreak’, with palm-sized pink-flushed flowers and an unusual colmnuar habit, and Magnolia Black Tulip, one of the darkest, most dramatic tulip magnolia with rich, deep burgundy flowers.
These and many more beautiful varieties are just beginning to come into flower, and ideal for adding some real drama to your garden this spring.
They are not alone in the early spring season, however. Magnolias pre-date the evolution of bees, but the most popular flowering shrub for bees in March must be Stachyurus praecox, with its long chains of pale yellow flowers humming with activity all month. Eventually a large deciduous shrub, it is happy in any lightly shaded spot and is especially good with morning sun to backlight the flowers.
Also beginning to flower in spring, several Viburnum species are starting to bloom. The evergreen Viburnum tinus is often seen in front gardens clipped somewhat unflatteringly as a hedge, but there are many deciduous species with very elegant habits and showy, usually white, often fragrant flowers.
Also fragrant, Edgeworthia chrysantha has unusal nodding heads of yellow flowers which, with a bit of spring sunshine, have the most wonderful scent. Plant it in a warm free-draining spot somewhere you’ll pass regularly.
Colour isn’t the only thing that makes a different early in the year. Texture is an essential part of a seasonal planting and attractive bark such as the peeling bark of the paper bark maple, Acer griseum, looks beautiful all winter with the low light shining the caramel bark.
Japanese maples are perhaps the best known small garden tree, and for good reason. With wonderful form and foliage, 4 season interest and slow predictable growth.
Magnolia Leonard Messel
Magnolia Black Tulip
Magnolia Rustica Rubra
Acer palmatum Osakazuki
Acer palamtum Skeeters Broom
Acer shirasawanum Jordan