Plans to brighten up the spring garden with a splash of colour

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After pansies, polyanthus and coloured primroses are among the more popular plants for supplying spring colour and though that time is still a long way off, they have to get planted now.

Like all spring flowering plants being bought in trays at this time, they have a full root system but still need to be in place now to get established while the ground is workable and suitable.

The primula family comes in soft pastel colours through to vibrant colours such as deep purple. Coloured primroses have short stems, producing plenty of single flowers in white and variations of pink, purple and yellow on compact plants. With polyanthus, the flowers are the same but come in clusters on a long stem.

Not so popular as they used to be, wallflowers give a good show in April and May with flowers on erect stems, usually along with tulips. Wallflowers are reliable and quite hardy, however, it is best to get the bushiest and sturdiest plants you can find. These will produce more flowers and are in a better condition to withstand adverse wintry weather.

A point to make with wallflowers is that in late spring when flowering is over, the plants should be removed immediately, not letting them set seed heads, as they take a lot of goodness out of the soil.

For something a little different, double daisies (bellis) give a good display of coloured ‘buttons’. These are not like the troublesome weed which spoils lawns, but come in pink or red and can be singles or doubles, the latter having the yellow centre bred out, giving a pompon-like appearance. Their habit is low and bushy, making them ideal as edging, beds or window boxes.

As a complete change to any of the usual plants being chosen now is ornamental kale, often termed coloured cabbage. They have the habit of cabbages, plenty of foliage in the form of a rosette but certainly not in colour and this is their attraction.

Plants can be green and mauve, green and white or green and pink, depending on variety. There are no flowers, of course, only bright foliage and fully hardy, no matter what the weather.

They are usually sold in individual pots for moving to bigger containers and can be used either on their own or with bulbs.