Garden designer, Joy Grey tells us the early-flowering shrubs to plant this spring.

February and March see the days beginning to lengthen, temperatures increasing and the sap beginning to rise. There is a feeling of anticipation for the new season ahead and the garden coming to life again. Make sure your garden has a few early-flowering shrubs to kick-start the season. Pair them with hellebores, aconites, snowdrops, early flowering crocuses and daffodils.

1. Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ 

Glossy evergreen leaves with pink and white flowers bursting from pink buds over a long period in winter and spring. A tough shrub which will grow in most gardens in either sun or shade. Height and spread 3m. 

2. Cheanomeles x superba ‘Crimson and Gold’ 

The bare twigs of this deciduous shrub are smothered in bright red flowers with yellow centres in early spring followed by yellow fruits. Stunning trained against a wall and invaluable where space is limited. Height 1m, spread 2m. Tolerates full sun or part shade. Moderately fertile, well-drained soil.

3. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ 

Beautiful clusters of spidery, sweetly scented, sulphur-yellow flowers adorn the bare branches of this deciduous shrub. Leaves turn spectacular shades in autumn. Cut a flowering twig to perfume a room. Height and spread 3m. Tolerates full sun or part shade. Moderately fertile, well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil.

4. Daphne × transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance’ 

This small semi-evergreen shrub has a long succession of highly scented white flowers. Plant it near an entrance or pathway where you can enjoy its scent to the full. Height and spread 0.9m. Full sun or part shade. Moderately fertile, well-drained, humus rich soil.

5. Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ 

This small popular evergreen shrub with aromatic leaves and fragrant spring flowers is clustered with attractive acid-green buds in winter. It is as attractive in bud as it is in flower. Height 1m, spread 1.5m. Full sun or part shade. Moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil.

6. Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory’ 

A deciduous shrub or small tree bearing clusters of small yellow flowers on bare branches. Leaves turn a purple-red in autumn with glossy red fruits. Height and spread 3m. Full sun or part shade. Moderately fertile, well-drained soil.

Now is a good time to buy these shrubs when you can see them flowering in the nurseries. It is also a good time for planting when spring is just around the corner. And if it snows, remember to shake it off the branches of trees, shrubs and hedges to prevent them being damaged by the weight.

Happy Gardening!


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