The first joys of spring
15th Feb 2022
Though the weather is variable, there’s no mistaking the chatter of birds getting louder and louder. Snowdrops are out in force and some of the earliest spring bulbs are thinking about showing their faces. The next step on from winter-interest trees and shrubs will be the early spring pioneers that herald the start of this fresh-faced season. Here are some favourites!
Amelanchier (Snowy mespil)
AKA Juneberry and snowy mespil, Amelanchier is at the very top of our list of recommendations for spring. Graceful and understated with its naturalistic form and dainty star-blossom, this is a small tree that doesn’t knock you over the head with gaudy blooms or strong perfume, but gently eases you into the season with silvery buds that unfurl into bronze-tinged leaves, closely followed by subtle yet abundant blossom. Like a beautiful dusting of snowflakes, the creamy-white flowers gradually highlight the tree.
Amelanchier lamarckii, available as a single or multi-stemmed tree, has the most organic shape. A. ‘Robin Hill’ is somewhat more formal and symmetrical. A. ‘Rainbow Pillar’ is an upright form with particularly good autumn colour.
Prunus Accolade (Pink flowering cherry)
We thought that the National Trust’s idea to emulate the Japanese festival of cherry blossom, Hanami, was a great idea.
The ‘flower viewing’ season begins with early bloomers like Prunus ‘Accolade’. There’s a lot to recommend this tree apart from the fact it starts flowering as early as March. Borne on leafless branches, the semi-double blossom bursts from bright pink buds. Pictured against a clear blue sky, it joyously calls out ‘springtime’!
Spiraea arguta (Bridal wreath)
Up close, the golden-centred, white-petalled flowers that clothe the arching branches of Spiraea arguta are a bit like hundreds of tiny sunny faces, symbols of everything coming back to life. The common name comes, of course, from the white colour. From a distance it has quite a frothy appearance, giving it another one of its common names, May Foam. A brilliant choice for a white-themed garden.