As days lengthen and nights shorten, the air starts to warm up and leaves burst from the trees, it is clear that spring is in full flow and the garden is preparing for the summer ahead. The warmer climes cause a burst of colour outdoors, from bright and bold reds and oranges to softer pastel hues, this season brings an explosion of colour, the opening act for the summer ahead. But what plants to look out for over the next few months, and what to plant in your garden for next year? There are a myriad of varieties to fill the late spring gap and provide every corner of your outside space with colour and texture for the weeks to come.
Blooming towards the end of April and well into May, tulips are one of the most beloved spring flowers, providing a kaleidoscope of all different colours and shapes and bringing texture and interest to border and pot displays. Planting a succession of early to late flowering varieties is the primary way to ensure that the colour continues in succession, brightening the lengthening spring days. Tulips are also invaluable as elements of cut flower arrangements, no other plant provides such varied and plentiful colour at this moment in the year.
When the tulips begin to fade… in come the alliums! Explosions of purple, star-like clusters of bright flowers float atop tall stems – positively flying above borders and continuing the colour right the way through June. With some white and even pink varieties, alliums are a cottage garden stalwart, complimenting beautifully the bright green stems of growing perennials.
But the stars of the show cannot be ignored, and for many gardeners the absolute favourite in the garden right through the year are the roses. Blessed with scent, colour and beauty, roses are the backbone of any garden, be they climbing, shrub or hybrid tea, no garden is complete without a rose. At this time of year, the earliest roses are beginning to show buds, and are ready to erupt into colour as May progresses into June. Roses are the perfect foil upon which to build other layers of your spring garden, complimenting salvias, alliums and many herbaceous perennials perfectly.
The sister of the rose, the peony, is also invaluable in the spring garden, with large, blowsy blooms in shades ranging from bright pink to deep yellow filling the awkward gap between the bulbs and the roses. The colour provided by peonies bridges effortlessly the transition from spring into summer, providing material for the cutting garden, nectar for wildlife, and greater depth and excitement to planting regimes.
However, while it is easy as a gardener to be utterly delighted by roses, peonies and spring bulbs (and rightly so!) perhaps the most valuable and the most needed colour in the spring garden is green. Green leaves that unfurl from dormant trees, green shoots of herbaceous perennials, green grass surging into growth, the green fronds of ferns unfolding. Without the bright and fresh growth of spring there would be no pinks, purples and blues, and the emergence of new leaves is perhaps the most visible sign that spring has finally sprung.
Trees and wild spaces provide much needed greenery, but perhaps the best way to include extra colour in your spring garden and boost interest is through bulbs and bare roots.
In order to ensure a riot of colour in your garden next year, why not consider pre-ordering spring bulbs for your outside space? Look around and take note of any varieties which particularly have caught your eye and consider getting your order in now to ensure that next year in your outside space is the most colourful yet. The Rose Press Garden provides a multitude of new and exciting varieties, perfect to get your hands on now to ensure your garden is packed to the brim with colour next spring. However, continuing through the summer and into Otherwise, take time to spend outdoors and watch the season unfolding, making note of gaps and taking pictures to look back on, but most importantly enjoying the lengthening, brighter days, more of which are (hopefully) coming our way!
Written for TRPG by Becky Buxton