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Monday, 11 March 2019

Top Perennial Plants for Early Colour This Spring

Above we have vinca, Primula japonica 'Postford White' a candelabra primrose, pulsatila, Veronica gentianoides, (Solmon's Seal) Polygonatum and heucherella.

These are just a few of my favourites. The rich blooms of the pulsatilla are beautiful and the seed heads that follow are equally so. Vinca is the most briliant evergreen ground cover with the clear periwinkle blue flowers and evergreen foliage. It has the ability to grow in shade and its one of the few plants I have seen grow successfully under laylandi.
Solomon Seal with its limely tubulular flower always astonishes me when it pops from nowhere to be so spectacular.
I have a weaknes for all candelabra primroses and love them under the trees with ferns bluebells and hostas. 
Veronica gentianoids is so delightfully soft and feminine with a candle structure so early in the border. 
Lastly heucherella, the most versatile ground cover  surviving in shady spots, producing such soft lacy fronds.

 Geranium Phaeum Sodor
Out in early spring and very useful in shady spots. This has seeded all round my garden and it's lovely. The dark markings on the foliage make it quite striking. It grows successfully is some quites difficult dry shady spots and looks after its self, often repeat flowering in autumn if I remember o cut it back afte the first flush.

In early April we will have varieties of Dicentra formosa and spectablis.The soft branches can reach 90cm but don't have it at the back of a border, let it come through and hang above its neighbours.

Spectablis is big and blousey but also has quiet soft foliage. Spectablis 'Valentine' in dark red with magnificent heart shaped flowers is perhaps the most exciting spring plant to grow in your border.

Dicentra formosa is a lovely little tiny bleeding heart with soft ferny foliage,that looks fantastic growing with ferns and hostas in woody situations.

These plant well with ferns and pulmonaria in shade or semi shade.

Brunea 'Jack Frost'
Brunnera 'Jack Frost' has large icy silver leaves and illuminating, blue forget me-not flowers.Its excellent in partial shade or reasonable but not burning hot situations. Similar silvery leaf hybrids are appearing on the scene that appear to be equally good. My dog eats brunnera leaf and loves it. She appears to be the only dog I have come across who does this. lucky I have plenty and its harmless.

There are many varieties. Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign' below is a vivid blue.

All are excellent ground cover particularly on clay soil. All ideal for shady or partial shady places though those with the silver foliage fair well with more sunshine and those with speckled leaves look dramatic after flowering.

Euphorbia's impress us with their wonderful foliage. There are so many exciting colours now not just the shade loving invasive woodland spurge variety. E. xmartinii Ascot Rainbow, still a fairy new introduction fulfils its colourful name with is rainbow foliage. Varieties like E. characias 'Black Pearl are forming their bracts making interesting Architectural flower heads and the white foliage of E. Silver swan is still stunning.
Simply the pretties and dainties bracts have to be E. 'Baby Charm'

Ephorbia 'Baby Charm'

Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii 'Shorty' Is a useful introduction for those wanting a more compact version of the every reliable original. We are continually seeing more compact versions of traditional favourites.

Aubretia is the plant everyone asks for. What is that purple flower you see tumbling over walls everywhere.Early alpines make it possible to plant some lovely alpine bowls topped with alpine grit to adorn the doorstep. This includes aubretia,arabis, iberis and saxifrages and many more all in flower this month.

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