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Monday April 19 , 2021

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

Top 5 Shrubs for Late Winter Early Spring

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There are so many amazing shrubs out there and I don’t think they get the recognition they deserve. I could wax lyrical about why everyone should have them in their gardens, what qualities they add to the garden and how hard some of them really do work for us. I thought I'd share with you my top 5 late winter/early spring flowering shrubs I often use when I’m designing gardens that will add visual interest and some are also scented! 


Forsythia-x-intermedia-LynAdding that bit of drama and excitement that spring is surely here you can’t beat a Forsythia, the yellow flowers that arrive around March can’t help but make you feel cheery.  It makes a great centre piece and is as equally at home as part of a mixed border, and it can also make a pretty good hedge too.  Try Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood Variety’ as it is tolerant of most soils and aspects although it does prefer full sun or part shade.


Sarcococca-confusa SizedSarcococca confusa also known as Christmas box, its flowers are white, sweetly scented and are in their full glory from December through to March. It likes full or partial shade and is a slow growing evergreen shrub.  This looks great as a specimen plant as well as planted in a mixed border or even a container.  If it is planted by a pathway or a door you’ll get the full benefit of that vanilla scent which really brightens up a wintery day!


Chaenomeles-x-superba-CrimChaenomeles x superba ‘Crimson and Gold' the ornamental quince, it bears bright crimson-red flowers with gold anthers on bare stems from March until May and is a welcome injection of colour this time of year.  It is a compact shrub that grows to about 1m in height and 2m in width making it great for a small garden where space is limited, it can be trained espaliered against a wall, it prefers full sun or part shade and is happy on a north facing wall.

Hamamelis-x-intermedia-DianHamamelis, the Witch Hazel family are incredible this time of year and I particularly like Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ because it is a little different to the usual yellow witch hazels.  It flowers well before the Camellias and Rhododendrons welcoming the start of the gardening year and the deep dusty orange petals can be seen unfurling in January giving an injection of colour but also of scent too!  The leaves turn rich colours of yellows and reds in the autumn.  It prefers full sun and part shade, well drained soils and will cope with minimal pruning but without can grow quite large so is ideal for the back of borders.


Viburnum-x-bodnantense-DawnViburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' flowers for a long time especially in milder winters, it can start in late autumn with the last of the flowers being seen late March.  The flowers are scented and pink in colour, the dense clusters can be seen on bare branches making them really stand out on a winters day but they will look even better with a darker background such as a hedge to show them off.   If it gets hit by frost it will produce more flowers within a few days or so, it prefers full sun but will grow in dappled shade and likes well drained soil.  A back of the border shrub as it can get quite tall but beware the berries it produces can give a mild stomach upset if eaten.  This shrub will really work hard for you!




Nicki Jackson is Blue Daisy's garden designer & owner. A former HR consultant Nicki still finds the time to run Blue Daisy, design gardens and planting plans, write a blog, keep our gardening clients happy and offer IIP advice and outplacement support through Blue Daisy Consultancy.

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