Iris – we have a collection of about 40 varieities of mainly Bearded but also Siberian, Dutch and other types of iris. Most of them flower in late spring.
Lupins – our relatively light soil and mild(ish) winters seem to suit lupins. They generally reward us with a spectacular late spring show of colour, particularly in the purple garden where they’re planted in drifts. We mainly have pink hybrids, but have started to experiment with other named varieties.
Peonies – often undervalued due to their short flowering season, their brief moment of late-spring glory is something to savour. We like the traditional rich ruby-red shades, which we’ve used in the cottage garden.
Flowering Cherries – no spring garden is complete without the blossom of at least one flowering cherry. As well as several of the traditional ‘Sato’ cherries (prunus serrulata), of which ‘Kazan’ is our favourite, we also grow some of the smaller prunus incisa varieties as medium-sized shrubs.
We have many other spring-flowering trees, shrubs and perennials including rhododendrons, laburnum, lilacs, a large planting of probably the earliest flowering rose (xanthina ‘Canary Bird’), choisyas, spirea, deutzias, the incredibly floriferous Pearlbush (exocharda x macrantha ‘The Bride’), aquilegia, several varieties of allium, campanulas, tradascantia, the semi-hardy zantedeshias and early-flowering clematis, including alpinas and, of course, montanas.
Other noteable year-round stalwarts in flower in the spring include osteospermum jucundum and several varieties of dianthus and geraniums.
Finally, late spring visitors can also see the winter garden at something close to its best. Although just in leaf, the bright red and yellow stems of the cornus ‘Sibirica’ and ‘Flaviramea’, the orange stems of the pollarded willows, the sliver stems of rubus cockburnianus and the near-white trunks of the himalayan birch (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii) can still be seen.