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Paint a Spring Picture

This article was first published on 17 Sep 2020.



Photo by the Otago Daily Times

Early blossom lifts the jaded winter heart.  Two classic main stars at this time are Prunus and Magnolia.

On their own they’re quite enough but by using surrounding plants you can add to the picture and create a major statement of spring.

At Dunedin Botanic Garden playground perennials are used as underplanting.  They’re not flowering yet but even their fresh foliage shouts spring. There is the soft new growth of the astilbes, the green unfolding Hosta leaves, and the stunning silvery architectural leaves from Cynara cardunculus.

On top of that are the glossy shiny dark green leaves of the Chatham Island forget-me-not Myosotidium hortensia, topped with a few soft blue flowers.

Another perennial flowering there is Pulmonaria officinalis 'White Wings', smothered in white flowers.  The leaves have a silvery tinge with white spots.  This very dependable early spring flowering perennial is a great edging plant and suitable for a semi shady location.

But the main show stoppers in this spot are Prunus 'Accolade'. This very attractive early spring flowering ornamental cherry has a lovely spreading habit. Deep pink buds open to semi double pink flowers held in dangling clusters.

Growing alongside is Magnolia 'Serene', an upright tree smothered with the large dark-pink, cup-shaped flowers on the leafless branches.  It’s a great choice for frosty areas, being one of the last magnolias to flower for the season.