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Spring Delights Pave Way to Summer

This article was first published on 25 Oct 2012.

Polygonatum multiflorum

Polygonatum multiflorum

People think of herbaceous borders as a blaze of colour in the summer months but spring treasures and gems provide a delightful head start.

Pretty flowers and interesting foliage – one Pulmonaria has it all.  Green leaves are covered in white spots and look great all year round, with the added bonus of flowers in early spring.  There is a number of good species and cultivars and a selection of flower colours to choose from; all are suitable as an edging plant. Pulmonaria officinalis 'White Wings' is an excellent choice.

For a little bit more height Dicentra spectablis is a delight.  New growth is lush and beautiful. Delicate looking blooms dangle from long, arching stems and flowers are a heart-shaped soft pink with a longer inner white petal. There are also a few lower-growing Dicentra with attractive foliage and a choice of flower colour. Dicentra formosa 'Langtrees' has blue grey leaves and creamy white flowers, and is suitable for the edge of the border or as a ground cover.

One of my all-time favourite spring flowering plants would have to be Solomon’s seal, . This plant has a graceful elegance. The flowers hang down underneath the leaves and are slightly fragrant.  It is an excellent flower to use in floral arrangements.

All of the plants mentioned are suitable for that shady spot in your garden.  Dunedin Botanic Garden’s herbaceous borders are just inside the main gates on the corner of Opoho Road and Great King Street.

Linda Hellyer is curator of the herbaceous borders at Dunedin Botanic Garden.