As I stroll through the nursery in early March I’m amazed by our early risers, the tough perennial and shrubs that light up the end of winter and signal a more promising time to come, writes Michael Cookson of Newgate Nurseries, Preston
Here are my top 10 shrubs and perennials:
Lonicera fragrantissima – a large deciduous shrub producing a mass of tiny heavily scented cream honeysuckle flowers from January till April.
Sarcoccoco Confusa – a compact evergreen shrub producing heavily scented white tassel like flowers from December to March.
Prunus Kojo no mai – this dwarf shrub provides winter interest with its twisted naked stems that become clothed with delicate pale pink spring flowers. Its foliage turns bright red in autumn.
Leucothoe curly red – this dwarf evergreen shrub has contorted branches with bright red foliage throughout winter. Lily of the Valley white flowers appear in spring.
Camellia sasanqua – single rose like flowers appear from autumn till spring on this glossy evergreen shrub. Grow in a sheltered corner.
Pulmonaria Diana Claire – a small clump forming perennial with dappled foliage and delicate pink/blue flowers. A low growing shade lover that lights up the garden from February until April.
Primula vulgaris – this wonderful woodland perennial loves a moist spot in the shade. Glowing lemon flowers light up early spring.
Cyclamen coum – this hardy cyclamen looks great planted under trees flowering from January to March.
Helleborus winter bells – an evergreen perennial producing an abundance of pale pink single rose like flowers from January to April.
Erysimum super bowl – a hardy perennial wall flower producing scented purple flowers from February through summer.