There's more to spring than daffodils....

When thinking of spring flowers 99 per cent of people will picture a bright yellow daffodil and although I love their cheery presence on a dull, grey day there are other plants which come into their own at this time of year and which I am equally fond of and are well worth considering when trying to inject some interest to the garden.

Scent is often a secondary thought when selecting plants. You don't have to wait for roses to bloom in summer. A few carefully chosen shrubs and climbers can add another dimension to a garden throughout the year. Daphne bholua is an attractive evergreen shrub with pretty balls of pink flowers in late winter / early spring, but its star quality is its scent. Plant it near your front door (or back door if you don't have a front garden) and you'll be able to enjoy its heady scent again and again, a real delight when there really isn't much else going on in the garden. It's seen here below growing next to a clipped ball of Lonicera nitidia, which after a winter of behaving itself is starting to grow a shaggy mop...just waiting for me to come along and give it a haircut with my shears...

Euphorbias were one of the first plants I fell in love with. They're stylish, usefully evergreen, with interesting whorls of soft, sage green leaves. There are lots of different types but the impressively large, acid green flowers of Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii, which last from March to May, are a wonderful accent colour for yellow daffodils or colourful tulips in bright pinks or dark marroons. I particularly love the acid green with the hyacinth blue of these Muscari 'Blue Star' below. Just cut the flowered stems back to the base on they're finished.

Finally, I just had to include this Snake's head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) from one of my clients' gardens. A british wild flower, they aren't brash and showy like the majority of spring flowers. They have an understated beauty with their delicate, chequerboard markings and bell shaped heads which hang precariously from incredibly thin stems. They are even finished off with an elegant flourish of 3 or 4 leaves. Grown here in a raised bed where they are easy to see, their true home is naturalised in grass.....if you can mange to get them to grow there that is....

© Claire Moreno 2014