March in the garden and spring is beginning to get underway. This means that adding colour to the garden becomes a lot easier. From spring bulbs to shrubs and perennials here are some ideas on what to plant in March.
There is nothing that heralds spring better than early flowering bulbs and March brings plenty of choice. The first choice for any garden has to be narcissi. There are a number of varieties that flower in March. ‘Rip Van Winkle’ is a dwarf variety with highly cut petals that resemble a paper star. Narcissi ‘Geranium’ has pale cream petals with a bright orange centre and a truly delicious scent. This bulb is very hardy and the flowers grow to a height of 45cm. Narcissi ‘Jenny’ is a delicate pale lemon with graceful swept-back petals. Narcissi tete-a-tete is a great all-rounder and will reappear year after year. This bright yellow miniature daffodil grows to a height of 20cm. Plant them indoors as well, transferring outside once the flowers have gone over.
Other bulbs that will provide a splash of colour at this time of year include crocus tommasinianus is a self-seeding crocus that is great for lawns. A carpet of this delicate little bulb with flowers ranging from pale lilac to purple is a very welcome sight in early spring. Pulipa turkestanica is a free-flowering multi-headed little tulip that grows to around 20cm in height. It has delicate fragrant creamy white star shaped flowers.
A must for shady areas in spring herbaceous borders is pulmonaria or lungwort. Not only will they produce clusters of flowers, they are also grown for their pretty spotted foliage. ‘Trevi Fountain’ has wonderful deep purple flowers on dark foliage splashed with creamy spots. ‘Diana Clare’ has clusters of flowers from rosy purple to deep violet and small silver spotted stem leaves. The flowers of “Moonshine’ are a delicate pale pink. The bright lime green of euphorbia robbiae is another must for a spring border. This plant will go on flowering until July and looks great against the purples of spring such as aubretia and forget-me-not.
If its majesty you are after in early spring you can do worse than magnolia ‘Galaxy’. Its tulip-shaped buds of reddish purple start to open during March into large goblet-shaped flowers. The effect is all the more stunning as the flowers appear before the foliage. Another flowering tree worth noting is the flowering cherry. Prunus ‘Kanzan’ has rich pink flowers from March to April is fully hardy and grows to a height of around 5m. Smaller spring flowering prunus can be happily planted in stone planters as long as they are regularly watered and fed.
Jo Poultney is a RHS qualified gardener who has recently set up a business selling garden planters and garden related gifts via a website.