Here is a list of eight shrubs that could be in full flower in your garden now. In fact it is six true shrubs and two extra perennials which make up this blooming selection. All are colorful and some fragrant as well. White and red predominate with pale mauve to complete the color palette. I found this list in an article by Andy McIndoe on the Learning With Experts website.
As soon as the first early spring flowering shrubs burst into bloom we know that we are in for a treat. Wave after wave of colourful, often fragrant blooms will surge through the garden over the next few weeks, long before most herbaceous perennials get their act together. These early shrubs are the unsung heroes of the garden. We lavish little attention on them and we take them for granted, but they reward year after year.
Osmanthus delavayi is not the first to bloom, but before Easter I notice the buds swelling in the axils of the small dark green leaves. I like the very arching tan coloured stems and the way they contrast with the holly-green foliage. The small tubular flowers are purest white, profuse and deliciously fragrant; delightful on cool spring air. This is a really useful structure shrub growing to 1.2 metres (4ft) with a similar spread. I use its arching branches as a support for a creamy clematis that comes later.
Magnolias can be real heart-ache plants; the large blooms are so susceptible to frost damage and several of mine are left with blooms that resemble crumpled paper bags this spring. Not so Magnolia stellata, the best for a small garden. This one grows on alkaline soil as well as acid, you can grow it in a large pot and it is compact in habit. The silky grey buds of winter burst early into pure white waterlily blooms that are more resistant to the vagaries of the weather. I often use this in London gardens where it blooms early. It always features in my books and is a star plant in my course Shrubs: Making the most of them in your garden.
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