Yellow Spring, by George Carter

By George Carter

After the monochrome of Winter, Spring offers the chance of colour and I think this is the time of year when yellow (a suspect colour at other times) is particularly welcome and cheering.

The earlier flowering the better, and there are numerous plants that do flower in abundance in January, February and March. What could be nicer than Winter jasmine against a wall – jasminium nudiflorum produces showers of bright yellow (or white) and is tolerant of aspect and soil. 

Daffodils are of course redolent of spring and to my mind the small native daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus is much more attractive than the showier hybrids. They colonise woodland and light damp shade and in drifts their small scale makes paradoxically for a grander effect than their larger relations. 

Also native is the wild primrose Primula vulgaris, which in my part of Norfolk makes the ditches and hedgerows magical in March. Their pale greenish yellow is a particularly attractive colour and makes the lurid primulas look distinctly over the top. Though even they have their place and can look well potted in an auricula theatre for an earlier jewel-like display in advance of the auricula.

Witch hazel Hamamellis mollis is a plant that flowers in January and has a surprising spicy fragrance – a time when scent is particularly welcome. Named varieties have showier yellow or orange flowers. They enliven a shrubbery when nothing much else is happening.

Winter aconites Eranthis hyemalis are easy to grow and spread quickly. They again form drifts of yellow and are not particular as to situation. Their showing in January and February is especially encouraging. 

To learn more about George Carter and his garden designs click here and here for George's selection of wonderful books.