Column: With each week new plants start to bloom

editorial image

As each week passes, new flowers start to appear.

The crocuses have taken quite a battering from recent rain storms, but the daffodils hold firm.

They are starting to come out in massed ranks all over Pollok park now and it is nice to see so much bright yellow after all the subdued colours of winter. The rhododendrons are also starting to come into flower - huge bushes in various Barbara Cartland hues of blush and shocking pink.

The park has a dedicated rhododendron walk, lined with specimen rhododendrons (developed by John Stirling Maxwell who brought back specimens from plant collecting trips to the Himalayas in the first half of the twentieth century).

However, whilst they were introduced to the UK originally because of their attractive ornamental appearance, rhododendrons need careful control.

They can out-compete native plants and the Forestry Commission in Scotland refers to them as Scotland’s most threatening invasive non-native plant.

Less dramatic than the large rhododendrons, but also bright pink, are the camelias which are starting to come out in nearby gardens. I don’t have one myself but every spring when I see other people’s I think I should try and find room for one.

Not only do they have attractive flowers when not much else is out, they are evergreen, with glossy dark leaves.

The problem, as always, is finding the space.

Of course, one answer to creating room for fresh plants is to take a ruthless approach and cull any plant that is not earning its keep.

There is a guilt involved in digging up a plant which has done nothing wrong apart from, perhaps, refusing to flower or just looking a bit leggy and unattractive.

However, a key part of gardening is recognising when things have not worked and trying something new.

I did this last year when I finally admitted that the lanky dogwood at the back wall needed to go.

Its removal made room for several new plants including a winter-flowering clematis called ‘Wisley Cream.’

When I planted it last year, this new clematis was flowering but this year, despite looking healthy, it has not produced a single flower. I’ll give it a few years to up its game before I give it the chop.