Nurseryman's favourites – March

Derry Watkins of Special Plants Nursery chooses a selection of her favourite flowers and foliage to introduce some much needed colour into early spring gardens.



Anemone x lipsiensis
Looking just like pale-yellow wood anemones, a patch of Anemone x lipsiensis lights up the ground as if someone has spilled sunlight. The fine leaves are pretty enough to merit closer inspection. When the flowers fade, the leaves quickly follow suit and the whole plant disappears for another year. Like many woodland plants, it is summer dormant. The stick-like corms spread underground giving a slightly bigger patch of gold every year. If you can, find the corms in late summer, you can divide and replant them to extend the colony.


Height/spread 10-15cm x 10-15cm.
Origins Anemone ranunculoides x Anemone nemorosa.
Conditions Shade, humus-rich soil.
Hardiness rating RHS H5, USDA 5a-8b.
Season Early spring.


The other eight plants chosen by Derry this months are:

Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’
Thalictrum ‘Elin’
Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’
Corylopsis pauciflora
Hacquetia epipactis
Lunaria annua ‘
Corfu Blue’
Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’
Cardamine quinquefolia
Viola corsica

• You can find out more about these plants in the MARCH 2014 issue of the magazine - issue 207


Derry suggests places to visit to enjoy seasonal highlights:
Cotehele, near Saltash, Cornwall, has a collection of 30,000 daffodils made up of nearly 300 varieties, some of them 200 years old. The slopes of the River Tamar used to provide early daffodils for the whole country in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Remnant populations of vanished varieties are scattered through the lanes and in abandoned fields, and have been collected at Cotehele. The older varieties tend to be pale and slender, many developed from the native Narcissus pseudonarcissus. In late March the head gardener offers guided daffodil walks, and the visitor centre is collecting memorabilia, photographs and recordings of the people who worked the daffodil fields. The snowdrops, and blossom in the apple and cherry orchards, are also fantastic.
St Dominick, near Saltash, Cornwall PL12 6TA.

Westbury Court, Gloucestershire, has the last remaining Dutch-style water garden in Britain. Dating from the 18th century, it is very simple and serene. Evergreen hedges, topiary and perfectly straight canals of still water calm the soul. All the plants, even those in the vegetable garden, are 18th-century varieties to tie in with the water garden. Small but perfectly formed. 
Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire GL14 1PD.

Avondale Nursery, near Coventry, holds the national collection of wood anemones, one of my favourite spring flowers. Delicate, fleeting, named for the Anemoi, the Greek gods of wind, they come and they go, carpeting woods in early spring. Many beautiful forms have been selected: blue, pink or white flowers, double flowers – even all green flowers.
Avondale Nursery at Russell’s Garden Centre, Mill Hill, Baginton, Warwickshire CV8 3AG.

Somerset Gardens Tour 2014
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