Flowers For Your Spring Garden
When spring arrives, so should masses of flowers in the garden. These stunning plants are all in flower now and ready to delight in your spring garden.
Commonly known as the marguerite daisy, this is a must-have in any spring garden. The traditional blooms add a sunny lightness to any bed, the lobed petals coming in an impressive range of colours. It is regularly mistaken for a chrysanthemum due to its similar appearance, and is often incorrectly labelled so in stores. One of the most popular species is Argyranthemum frutescens, which looks its best during the spring months but will flower up until autumn in the right conditions.
One of the world’s favourite cut flowers, the carnation has a long history going back to Greece’s golden age. The genus name, Dianthus, was given to them by Greek botanist Theophrastus and literally translates to divine flower, indicating just a small part of their appreciation for this plant. Dianthus caryophyllus is a reliable spring beauty with gorgeous, ruffled blooms. The most popular shades are pink – lending this species its other common name of clove pink – but many other interesting colours are available too, ensuring there is always an option for any spring garden.
The more than 70 species of Diascia, commonly known as twinspurs, are all indigenous to South Africa, making them wonderful fuss-free options that will attract a wide range of wildlife to your garden. The perennial species, such as Diascia barberae, are largely found among the slopes of the impressive Drakensberg mountains, appreciating the summer rainfall of the region. Thanks to the efforts of growers across the country, many new cultivars are available, increasing the choice in colour, shape and size for all gardeners.
If you need to quickly fill space in your spring beds, opt for a member of the Nemesia genus. Largely native to the coastal areas of South Africa, the plants shoot up quickly in SA gardens and are topped with delicate, adorable blossoms in spring. They have a long flowering season, potentially extending right up until autumn if given the right care. They are also known as the Cape snapdragon due to the similarity in the shape of the blooms, and are available in many colours from yellow to burgundy and more.
Lewisia flowers are head-turners, opening up in spring to reveal striped patterns on their warm and colourful petals. These plants are native to North America and are found in rocky areas. This native habitat gave them a love of sandy, well-draining soils as well as the ability to withstand dry conditions. Thanks to their succulent-like leaves, these flowering plants are a great water-wise alternative to some of the thirstier spring plants. They are also frost tolerant and handle high temperatures well, making them incredibly versatile and adaptable plants. Look out for Lewisia cotyledon ‘Elise’, which has been bred to bloom prolifically.
A spring garden is incomplete without a collection of sweet alyssum. The cute clusters of compact flowers add washes of colour to beds and look particularly spectacular in containers. They are also wonderful in hanging baskets, especially those from the ‘Stream’ series. Look out for the classic white blooms that add a touch of brightness when combined with other annuals or choose a brighter option by planting the aptly named ‘Raspberry Stream’. Regular feeding and a consistent water supply will encourage these plants to put up even more of their scented blooms across the seasons.
Another indigenous favourite, Chaenostoma cordatum, previously known as Sutera cordata, is one of the most low-maintenance groundcovers you can find. The foliage won’t grow much taller than your ankles, forming true carpets of colour when spring arrives. The flowers have a golden centre, surrounded by lightly coloured petals in pink, white or purple. In temperate climates with mild winters they can flower year-round, but will flower most prolifically in the cooler weather of spring and autumn. This low-growing plant, also known as trailing phlox, is a great option for containers, left to cascade down the sides of a pot for a true spring spectacle. The cultivars with bigger blooms in brighter colours are also known as Bacopa.
This is one of the most popular cut flowers in the world and is better known as baby’s breath. This annual plant, named for its delicate foliage and adorable teeny blooms, has become the darling of the floral industry, perfectly complementing any focal flowers. The white varieties are especially popular in bridal bouquets and displays, but the flowers are also available in a dainty pastel pink or lavender purple. Planted in well-draining soil in full sun, this plant will form a mound of flowers that almost makes it appear as if it was glowing. Trim off a few stems and bring them indoors to extend the spring joy into your home.
The flowers of the ever-popular Digitalis purpurea are easy to spot from a mile away. These plants produce tall flower stalks with tubular blooms facing outwards. If you look closer you will see that these blooms also have spots on the inside, with the intensity of the contrast depending on your chosen cultivar and colour. These plants take a while to mature and develop flowers, so it’s best to purchase mature plants from your local nursery to add instant colour to the garden. Luckily, the tall and impressive blooms are well worth the wait.
Similar in structure to foxgloves, delphiniums also produce towering blooms. They are most well-known for their use as a staple border plant but also make wonderful cut flowers. Trimmed in their spring prime, the massive flower stalks look stately in a vase, especially when different mixes of colours are used. Delphiniums prefer cooler weather and struggle to flower when temperatures are too high. They are also high-water users, requiring consistent moisture to look their best. But, as long as these needs are met, you can be treated to continuous blooms throughout spring and even into summer.
For those of you looking for something a little lower maintenance, the indigenous gazania is an ideal option. The flowers come in a wide range of blindingly bright colours, typically on the warmer side of the colour wheel. The plant has a few adorable common names, including treasure flower, and botterblomme in Afrikaans. Gazanias are not needy, becoming tough and drought-tolerant additions to your garden once established. They will continue to flower up until autumn, adding wonderful colour to beds and pots.