Perennials - Country walks in spring
If you really love spring (and who doesn’t?) then why not celebrate it in your own garden? Re-create your own version of those magical little corners that you seek out on country walks in spring. This month’s plants are just the recipe you need to help you do this and bring reliable early flowers to beds and borders.
Perennial primulas flower in spring and their blooms may be the classic yellow, as well as purple, red, pink or white. They are easy to grow and have a long flowering season. Primula vulgaris is the common primrose, with a single yellow or cream flower per stem. They have been hybridised with introduced species to produce a wonderful variety of flower colours.
For the earliest blooms in spring, look out for Primula vulgaris ‘Alba Plena’ (a pure white primrose) or ‘Lilacina Plena’ which is a beautiful lilac-blue. Primula denticulata, also known as Drumstick primula, bears attractive bell-shaped purple flowers with yellow eyes. In ideal conditions of full sun/partial shade and a moist yet well drained soil with plenty of humus it will reach a height and spread of up to 45cm.
With all primulas, roots need to be kept moist, especially in spring and summer. It’s best to do this by incorporating plenty of organic matter into the soil, applying surface mulch and watering in dry periods.
Pulmonaria, brings flowers in spring, but interest at other times as a result of their semi-evergreen foliage, which can persist right into winter. Many are vigorous and easy to grow. Pulmonaria officinalis ‘Sissinghurst White’ is one such, and for lovely white flowers and spotted leaves you can’t do better.
Pulmonaria saccharata ‘Blauhimmel’ or ‘Blue Heaven’ produces gorgeous pearly blue flowers. ‘Redstart’ in contrast bears pinkish-red flowers and is great for early colour. Pulmonaria make ideal ground cover plants, love moisture retentive soil and semi-shade.
The final suggestion for celebrating spring is the Corydalis family. For early spring flowers go for Corydalis cava. This bears purple or white flowers and reaches between 10 and 20cm in height. Corydalis diphylla is an exciting, sensuous plant because of its fabulous flowers. They are pale violet, but Corydalis wilsonii have deeper violet or red-violet lips; they’re great in a rock garden. is an evergreen which has eye-catching blue-green leaves and canary yellow flowers. It’s a great plant to grow in the shade of a wall.
Create a little magic in the garden this spring, but also get out to see it in nature too. The sight of hedge banks and lane-sides covered with primroses and cowslips is a sure sign that spring really is on its way.