Easter Flowers for your spring garden is a look at some of my favourite spring flowers that are blooming at Easter time.
Assuming, that is, that this festival falls in early – mid April and not in the cool winds of March!
For many people, the Easter weekend is the first real opportunity to get out into their gardens.
So I thought few ideas for Easter flowers to add to your shopping list when you head to the plant nursery or garden centre this weekend might come in useful.
This year (2017) the spring festival falls at the end of National Gardening Week. Unlike last week’s simple project, these flowers are not herbs. But they are rather nice to have in your garden…
Although many of us think of Daffodils as a March flower, some varieties flower in April. For example, I still have the frilly yellow daffodil, Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’ flowering away. And Narcissus ‘Bridal crown’, a scented white daffodil, is still packing a punch when you walk up to the front door.
If we’re catching the late flowering Narcissus, we’re also seeing some of the earlier Tulips.
Narcissus ‘Silver chimes’ looks very modern planted in the same pot as Tulip ‘Queen of Night’. The subtle off white and buttermilk shade of the Daffodil’s trumpet provide a contrast to the rich purple-black of the Tulips. It is a chic, not a stark combination.
The Triumph and Darwin hybrid types of Tulips are those which will be most reliably flowering in the garden from mid-April onwards. Tulip ‘Queen of Night’, as the name suggests, is a dark purple-black flowered tulip. The petals are almost glossy in the spring sunshine. This tulip will flower in April – May, although strictly speaking it’s supposed to be a late flowering type. A safer bet may be Tulip ‘Havran’, with blackcurrant coloured flowers. Havran is a Triumph tulip.
If the subtle and chic combination of purple and cream is not for you, how about purple and vivid orange? Try Tulip ‘Havran’ with Tulip ‘Prinses Irene’ for a stunning and unusual combination. Tulip ‘Prinses Irene’ is another Triumph tulip; petals are orange flushed with purple. It’s lightly scented.
Why not have pots of these spring flowering bulbs arranged together? Then it’s a simple task to re-arrange them as one ‘goes over’ and replace with another pot containing buds ready to open.
One way to encourage bulbs to flower earlier is to give them some extra heat. This can be as simple as keeping some of your pots of bulbs in an unheated greenhouse, and the rest outside in the garden. If you want to hold them back, then keeping the pots cool and dark helps. You’ll need to bring them into the light once the shoots break through the soil.
White garden Hyacinths have taken over from the forced Christmas indoor hyacinths. For some reason in my garden, the white hyacinths always flower ahead of the dark blue ones. Never mind, the scent is gorgeous whatever the colour!
Scented Hyacinths in pots make a nice present of Easter flowers. They’re more reliable when planted in the garden afterwards than the heat treated Christmas bulbs.
Muscari, commonly known as Grape Hyacinths can be a bit of a thug. However, some of the fragrant varieties, such as Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden fragrance’ and Muscari aucheri ‘White magic’are certainly worth growing in a pot.
Unlike the Narcissus, Tulips and Hyacinths, Iris are not a bulbous plant, they are rhizomatous. A rhizome is a horizontal stem that grows along, or just beneath the soil surface and puts out roots. You can often see this thickened stem raised above ground as the later flowering Iris love to bake their rhizomes in the sun.
Iris ‘Superstition’ is a deliciously dark purple flowered form, which flowers April – May. In a sunny, south facing border I would expect it to be flowering for a mid-April Easter weekend. I feel that Iris ‘Dutch chocolate’ ought to be flowering too. But this fragrant flower with rich brown petals blooms later.
Although some people won’t have Irises in their gardens as they consider the flowering season to be too short, I feel they’re losing out. Personally I find the sword like foliage of many Iris types to be an excellent foil for softer formed clumps of herbaceous perennials. The stiff Iris leaves remain upright and give height to the border planting.
I can’t finish without mentioning the Primrose. Primula vulgaris is the native species. If you’re looking for a delicate flower for a cottage garden in the spring you’ve found it. Add to this the Primrose’s attractiveness to bees and other pollinating insects and you’ve done a bit for the planet too.
The botanical Latin name ‘primula’ tells us that the Primrose is one of the first flowers to naturally bloom in the spring. For that reason alone, it has to be one of my favourite Easter flowers. Primroses are also lightly scented. Don’t believe me? Have a sniff!
The many brightly coloured Primula that are seen in bedding schemes and front gardens are more usually Polyanthus rather than Primula. Polyanthus are a hybrid between Primrose and Cowslip, Primula veris.
So there you have it. I’ve shared a few of my favourite Easter flowers with you. Have a lovely Easter weekend, holiday weekend, call it what you will. If we’re lucky, the sun may even shine…
Now, if you fancy going off to buy some flowers and plants, you may find it helpful to have a read of an earlier blog “How not to buy Garden Plants”. Tips on what to look for and what to avoid!
And if you need help with your garden, for garden design, planting design, garden consultancy or gardening lessons, please do get in touch.
Related Gardening Blogs from Plews Potting Shed
Tulips, Tulip-o-mania and Tulip Virus
5 Miniature Daffodils for Pots and Containers
Six Poisonous Flowering Bulbs
Camellias – Cornish Gardens in the Spring
Garden Visits – Eltham Palace early spring
Wild about Gardens – Design Ideas for Humans and Wildlife
The Carpet in your Garden – Spring Lawn Tasks – by Nathan at Plews Garden Landscaping