Some reliable plants that are flowering right now!

May 7, 2020 - POSTED BY Monique Halloran - How To... , Gardeners Choice

April and May is the time where gardens start to burst into colour and so i thought i would show you photos of some plants that flower at this time of year that to date have always been reliable and reasonably easy to grow.  The first photo shows an exceptional red paeony, called paeonia lactiflora karl rosenfield.  It is bushy and has dark green, divided leaves and importantly it is a paeony that requires little support.  Some paeonies have gorgeous flowers but are floppy, this one is pretty good at staying upright.  

Then we have the incredibly reliable ceanothus species.  They are an evergreen species, so already they curry favour with me, and then there are many different ones, so some that will grow very tall and some that are smaller.  The photo shows ceanothus aroreus ‘trewithen blue’ which can grow up to 8 metres and has a similar spread, but like most ceanothus you can prune them to contain their growth a bit.  I also love ceanothus yankee point, which is more vertical and grows up to one metre only, and you can train it sideways up to 3 metres.  Yankee point is happy with acid, alkaline and neutral soils whereas the ‘trewithen blue’ does not like acid soil.

Choisyas are one of my go-to shrubs as they never fail to bring joy.  They smell delicious, they are evergreen, and they have different leaf colour and shape dependent on which one you choose.  Photo 3 shows choisya aztec pearl, which is a great shrub!  The height and shape are perfect for mid border, up to 2m, or for front of border if like me you sometimes want to punctuate the front of the border with something a bit more substantial. The next photo shows choisya aztec gold, (1.2m high) which is a relatively recent addition to the species, and is the outcome of a marriage between choisya sundance, where it gets it golden colour from, and choisya aztec pearl where it gets the shape of its leaves from.  Both can flower again later on in the summer. What is not to like!

Then we have photinia red robin which has an abundance of red shiny leaves, in the early spring, and then in April/May little white sprays of flowers.  This is most often used as a hedging plant, as it is evergreen, is happy to be pruned, and has all year round screening ability.  One thing with photinias if you prune then the next year you will get less flowers. Then we have a great geranium which is semi shade tolerant, taller than most geraniums, and requires very little support.  It also flowers earlier than most geraniums from May through to august. Geranium magnificum.

Erysimum bowles mauve is another outstanding plant, though it is considered a short lived perennial, so it is a good idea to take cuttings in year 3, as a backup for when you need to replace it.  The good news is it flowers from April till the frosts!  Just keep dead heading the flowers as they finish their flush, and within a few weeks there will be more flowers!  Lastly and importantly, it is evergreen and it has wonderful humps of grey green foliage which look good during the winter months.  The last photo is a delicately shaped perennial called zizzia aureum, which thrives in full or part shade, and has these umbels of delicate lime green flowers. It flowers for many weeks, and though it looks delicate if you interplant it with an autumn flowering perennial like anenome honorine jobert, the other perennial will hold it up for you!  Happy gardening!