April at Reading 2 of 8
By Mark Lane

I love springtime.

The garden is coming to life after being asleep all winter long. Many gardeners love this time of year especially as daffodils, tulips and more fill the air with scent and brighten up the dullest of days.

I do, however, have a handful of favourite spring plants which I encourage you to grow, as I know you will not be disappointed by them.

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Amelanchier lamarckii – Photo: DEZALB/Pixabay

The first is a shrub/tree called Amelanchier lamarckii or the June berry.

Thrive Amelanchier Lamarckii
Thrive Patron, HRH Princess Alexandra, alongside a 30-year-old Amelanchier lamarckii

During March and April it is smothered in small, delicate, star-shaped, white flowers alongside young bronze-coloured leaves that turn green as they age.

In June, edible, purple-black berries are formed.

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Anemone leveillei – Photo: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

My second plant is a stunning, dainty-looking Anemone leveillei.

It forms a low, soft hairy mound of foliage and then between April and June is topped by sophisticated white anemone flowers, which have a lilac reverse on the petal. Finally, in the centre of each flower are a cluster of deep purple-blue anthers. The perfect plant for full sun or partial shade.

Don't be daunted

Trying new plants can be a little daunting, but it is definitely worth doing. Sometimes you might have some failures, but you learn from your mistakes (I certainly have).

Also, gardens are continually changing, whether you plant new bedding plants each year or just want to squeeze in another plant (or perhaps two or three).

It always amazes me how there is always room for a new plant. You may have to move things around, but eventually a space frees itself up and a new plant can be added.

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Cardamine pratensis – Photo: No Longer Here/Pixabay

My third favourite spring plant is Cardamine pratensis or lady’s smock or cuckoo flower.

In April and May this low-growing perennial sends up clusters of lilac-pink, purple and white flowers on upright stems, up to 45cm in height.

These look great in shadier areas of the garden, under trees, around the edge of ponds or boggy areas of the garden, as they love wet soil. They look best when planted in bold drifts in either full or partial shade.

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Indigofera himalayensis – Photo: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

For a touch of the tropics and a blaze of pink why not try my fourth favourite spring plant, Indigofera himalayensis ‘Silk Road’, otherwise known as pink-flowered indigo.

This is a small deciduous shrub, which in April and May is laden with short, upright clusters of small, pea-like, pink-purple flowers. It makes a great container plant in full sun and is fully hardy.

Courage of planting convictions

When it comes to trying something new think about the final height and spread of the plant, what it is going to sit next to, do you want to play off different textures? Perhaps you like the idea of having a whole area in just one colour, or perhaps mixing up plants for a riot of colour.

Whatever you choose, wherever you grow it, you should always say to yourself that you have done the right thing. By selecting a new plant you are expanding your knowledge about plants in general, their growing conditions and how to care for them.

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Corylopsis pauciflora – Photo: PxHere

My final favourite spring plant is Corylopsis pauciflora or winter hazel.

It is a deciduous shrub which comes to life in March and April when clusters of small bell-like, sweetly-scented, primrose-yellow flowers appear before the leaves. The delicate perfume fills the air so plant it near a front or back door or your favourite seating area.

Even if you add just one new spring plant a year you will be amazed at how wonderful you will feel and more importantly how stunning your outdoor space will look every year.

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