Shrubs for abundance of flowers in early spring
The snow has melted, the days are longer and it is possible to smell the spring in the air. Have a quick look at shrubs that are great in providing early spring interest in a garden.
Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)
There is no spring without masses of bright, yellow flowers of Forsythia.
You can plant it as a single specimen, in a group to form a hedge or if you don't have much space it can be trained against the wall. Forsythia is not too fussy about the soil type but place it in full sun.
Gordon's currant (Ribes x beatonii)
This ornamental currant's beautiful flowers are rich in nectar and pollen and will attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. Gordon's currant has dark aromatic leaves and clusters of tubular two-tone red (on the outside) and yellow (inside) flowers in April-May.
Osmanthus (Osmanthus burkwoodii, Osmanthus delavayi)
These evergreen shrubs with glossy, dark green leaves will produce masses of jasmine-like white flowers in April/May. The flowers have strong fragrance. Osmanthus grows quite slowly although it can reach 3m in height. Grows best in full sun or partial shade.
The flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
Decidous, vigorous shrub with dark green leaves and cup-shaped pink/red/white flowers from March to May followed by edible yellow-green fruits which are ready for harvest late summer/early autumn (although they should be cooked rather than eaten raw). Best to grow in full sun or partial shade.
'Moerloosei' - white flowers with flushes of pink, height up to 3m, spread 5m
'Orange storm' - bright orange flowers, height up to 2m, spread 1,2m
'Geisha girl' - apricot flowers, height up to 1,5m, spread 1,5m
'Nivalis' - white flowers, height up to 2,5m, spread 5m
'Rubra' - intense red flowers, height 2,5m, spread 5m
Camelias (Camellia x williamsii)
These evergreen shrubs are popular choice for the early spring colour (some cultivars, like J'.C Williams' can bloom from November to May). They need acidic to neutral soil, are very tolerant of shade and are fully hardy, although they do best in a sheltered spot. Camellias are slow-growing shrubs and can be planted in pots (remember to use ericaceous, ideally peat-free compost).
'Donation' (large, semi-double pink flowers),
'Debbie' (peony form, rose-pink flowers),
'Ruby Wedding' (peony-form, red flowers),
'Jury's Yellow' (anemone-form, white petals and creamy-yellow centre)