Discover articles on garden design, seasonal planting tips for your garden and other news and views from Gillian Goodson Designs.

Supercharged by spring

Delicate white flowers of  Amelanchier lamarckii (Gillian Goodson Designs)

Delicate white flowers of Amelanchier lamarckii (Gillian Goodson Designs)

It’s time to throw open the curtains and invite spring into your life. Why cower under the Ides of March when you can stand tall in delight of the upcoming vernal equinox when daylight hours overtake those of night. Let that spring energy supercharge and infect you and all that you do!

I have been asked to suggest plants for an early spring, green and white themed garden, not necessarily to work together as a whole. Much depends on the soil and aspect of a garden. As with interior design and fashion, think of layering – different hierarchies of height and how different plants interact and support each other.

A go-to tree for designers due to its multiple seasons of interest is Amelanchier lamarckii (June berry). The white, star-like flowers of this deciduous tree (up to 12m) appear this month through to April. Its unfurling leaves are bronze but mature to a gentle green. It has purple-black berries and gorgeous orange-red autumn colour.

For a medium sized-shrub (up to 3m) it would be hard to resist Magnolia stellata (star magnolia). It is less prone to frost than its goblet-shaped cousins and its silky buds open to reveal white flowers spanning 10cm – the flowers are also star-shaped but have abundant tepals.

For an upright green and white, for late March-April, try Tulipa ‘Purissima’, a scented, large white tulip with reliably sturdy stems that will steal the show especially planted en masse. However, purists of green and white gardens may wish to steer clear as the petals do turn a lemon colour before dying.

Vinca difformis ‘Snowmound’ (Intermediate Periwinkle) will also be flowering this month. A wonderful evergreen carpet for covering mounds or spreading under trees as it tolerates full sun to full shade. Not as readily available as Vinca minor f. alba but with similar single pure white flowers.

Continue to protect tender plants from frost as weather is still unpredictable; it is time to rescue and maintain lawns, be vigilant with slugs and snails as they vie for fresh spring growth, mulch borders, prune summer flowering shrubs, harvest winter crops, plant early potatoes, broad beans and parsnips. Don’t forget to pinch off spent flowers on daffodils and other early-spring flowering bulbs.

Nature is bursting with life. Dip into its wonder and let it invigorate you with vibrancy and vitality.