Shrubs for Spring Colour, March Marvels


Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora'

Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora' is commonly known as 'Batchelors buttons'. This large deciduous shrub can have an ultimate height of 3 metres (10ft) but is quite easy to maintain at about 2 metres; with a similar spread. During the winter this shrub consists of leafless light green whippy branches which are often used in winter flower arrangements.
In the spring, especially March, the plant boasts numerous bright golden yellow pom-pom like flowers on the still leafless whippy branches. It's graceful sharply toothed leaves will arrive just as the flowering is coming to a close, without even so much as a late note. Kerria is tough and carefree, growing in anything from full sun to deep shade.
It is also an ideal wall shrub for a north facing wall, but bear in mind that the long green shoots must be given some form of support such as wires.

Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood'

Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood' is commonly known as 'Forsythia' or "Golden bell". This popular deciduous shrub reaches heights of 3 metres (10ft); with a spread of approx 2.5 metres (7.5ft). Forsythia is a spring stalwart with spectacular and dramatic flower colour often used as a spring cut flower. Massed sprays of bright yellow star-like flowers crowd the leafless stems from as early as February and continue to flower until the end of March. The lush green foliage will arrive just as the flowering is coming to a close very similar to the Kerria mentioned above.
Forsythia is tough and robust with very few pest and disease problems, although it can have a tendency to wilt in very dry weather so water when needed and incorporate a good quantity of bulky compost when planting. This spring charm will grow in anything from full sun to partial shade and is not fussy on soil ph.
If you have problems with air pollution e.g. vehicle exhausts, you should consider Forsythia as it is resistant to these emissions.

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