Arthur’s top pick of spring flowers that have been flowering in the courtyard garden this spring.
‘Abu Hassan’ – Triumph Tulip – A rich, mahogany red with each petal edged with deep buttercup yellow. This was a favourite tulip of the late Christopher Lloyd and can still to be seen planted in mass at his garden Great Dixter. A perennial tulip, if the bulb is in well-draining soil – the secret of success with almost all spring bulbs, they should appear each spring for several years.
‘Queensday’ – Double tulip – A whopper of a tulip that is my favourite this spring. A really deep, blood orange colour with the petals folding into each other into the heart of the flower. It’s the sort of flower that Alice in Wonderland would have found in Wonderland and I’m inclined to fill the whole garden with hundreds of this variety!
Narcissi ‘Geranium’ – The later flowering Narcissi are the ones to go for as they rarely come in the typical earlier rubber duck yellow! Geranium has been pumping out its scent as a cut flower for weeks now at the factory, in our shops and in the garden it’s been set as backing flower of the outer raised beds. Its stems are strong and each consists of several flowers and has been in flower now for nearly two months!
Muscari – Grape Hyacinth – These have been brilliant, happily growing in the smallest of the vintage, terracotta pots that fit into the cast iron auricular stand, placed on an old table which I’ve painted a matching Moroccan blue this spring. In the ground, they will spread quickly and happily so are great for a neglected spot where they can romp away. Another spring flower rich in nectar for pollinators and scented too.
Wallflowers – Grow these from seed, sowing them in September for large bushy plants that you can then over plant the tulips. They will over winter, looking sad, then will come to life with gusto in late March. Their scent is unbeatable; they are like the sweet peas of spring. Go for ‘Blood Red’ or ‘Vulcan’.
Cerinthe Major– A hardy annual, when we have mild winters at least! It can be sown now for a late summer show but you can sow it in September as these were, over wintering them in a cold frame or sheltered place outside. Its common name is honey wort as it’s a magnet for pollinators.
Arthur is the gardener and florist at the Emma Bridgewater Factory.