Spring Great Plants this Month

Oemleria cerasiformis

oso berry- Indian plum

image of Louise Sims
Louise Sims

Unable (and a bit frustrated) as we are to grow such elegant spring flowering shrubs as corylopsis pauciflora and stachyurus praecox (because we are on heavy neutral clay and they like acid soil), I am delighted to say that my chosen plant today is happy and easy to grow in almost any soil.

This hardy shrub is native to the Pacific Northwest of North America and its arching stems can eventually form quite a thicket if not given a talking-to every few years! In this country it reaches 2 – 2.5m – but rather more in its native land I believe.

It enjoys partial shade or light woodland and has a naturalistic feel. The hanging racemes of dainty white flowers that emerge at about the same time as the fresh light green foliage are just perfect in these conditions – an ideal canopy for daffodils and early spring bulbs. The flowers may be followed by dark red plum-like fruits that are edible, although I haven’t tried them myself.

This shrub is unusually rare in gardens but while visiting The Manor* in Cambridgeshire recently I was thrilled to see their beautiful specimen in a quiet corner and it reminded me of the first time I saw it in Kew Gardens many years ago. I’m like an elephant when it comes to plants – once seen never forgotten and I eventually tracked one down for our garden here. It’s not an easy plant to source but well worth the effort.  This garden is quite simply one of the most magical and inspirational that I have visited and is well worth a detour if you find yourself anywhere near.

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.

More NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

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