Spring blossoms

Brightening our lives in April are a huge variety of flowering cherry trees bedecked with delightful displays of flowers that range in colour from pure white to vivid pink.

It’s peak cherry blossom time but there are also some varieties that flower over winter, offering a very welcome burst of colour to a dormant winter garden.  The species includes weeping trees, compact varieties, large spreading trees and those with ornamental bark.

Prunus Pink Parasol
Photo: Prunus Pink Parasol – mailordertrees.co.uk

One of the most beautiful is Prunus Pink Parasol.  Its branches are covered in large pale-pink double flowers surrounding their green centres and hanging in long-stemmed clusters.  The leaves appear before the blossom and are initially a dark copper bronze, becoming green over the summer and turning yellow in autumn.  It has a spreading habit and its eventual height is up to five metres tall.

Pulmonaria Blue Ensign – Sarah Raven
Photo: Pulmonaria Blue Ensign – Sarah Raven

Pulmonaria is an old cottage perennial that is known by many other names, Lungwort, Soldiers & Sailors, Jerusalem Cowslip, Spotted Dog, Joseph & Mary, and Adam & Eve are some of its nicknames.  Most varieties have flowers that open pink and turn blue, and the leaves range from plain green, via sploshes of white, to silver.   An excellent ground cover plant, Pulmonaria flowers early, and being low-growing is a great partner for spring bulbs and hellebores.  To thrive they need cool moist growing conditions, preferably in dappled shade.

Viburnum Carlesii Aurora – RHS
Photo: Viburnum Carlesii Aurora – RHS

Large clusters of pink buds followed by pure white blossoms are reason enough to choose this Viburnum, but without doubt it’s outstanding characteristic is its wonderful fragrance.  The flowers are followed by small oval berries which ripen to black in autumn, whilst the foliage turns red.  Plant near the house so you can enjoy the perfume, or use it as a hedging plant.  It’s a large bush growing in time to 2.5m x 2m, and likes well-drained soil in sun or dappled shade.