Early flowering shrubs are a delight, reminding us that in March we are at the beginning of a glorious growing season which will amount to a crescendo of colour spread over the next five months. Here are three beautiful shrubs to look out for this month:
Camellias An evergreen with glossy leaves, their white, pink, red or multi-coloured flowers can appear as early as January, right through to March and April, depending on the variety. They are easy to grow provided they have slightly acidic soil. Avoid placing them in east-facing positions as the flower buds can be damaged by early morning sun if the plant is frosted. A great plant for a shady spot too.
Chaenomeles These might be hard to spell and even tricky to pronounce, but these flowering quinces really do deserve a place in the early spring garden. They produce flowers on bare twigs, giving them an exotic appearance. They are really easy to please – just place them in any soil where they receive a bit of sun and they will delight you in March and April.
Hamamelis, or the ‘witch hazel’, is a most intriguing early flowering shrub that also produces flowers on bare twigs. They come in numerous varieties with flowers in yellows through to orangey red and copper, always having a sweet scent. You can cut the stems to bring indoors too.
Meanwhile, bulbs giving their all in March tend to keep low to the ground in order to stay protected from the weather. These include the glorious chionodoxa, also known as glory-of-the-snow, with their star-shaped blue or pink blooms which look amazing when planted in drifts.
Miniature daffodils are nodding their sunny faces now too, including the ever-popular Narcissus tete-a-tete. As the season progresses you will notice the daffodil species getting taller. Then there are charming crocuses, probably the most colourful of all March bulbs, adaptable enough to survive in just about any position but look particularly effective under trees and through short grass.