A Spring Triptych

There’s too much going on the garden to be able to write about it and still keep up. Even a scrolling news ticker would fly by so quickly it would just be a blur. Instead, I have three plants that have their own story and space in the garden for special reasons.

Firstly we have an unusual entry in that it is a well-known plant that has bad connotations and has fallen somewhat out of fashion. I’ve never grown it and it is something we inherited. The humble Aubretia, which in our garden tumbles down the patio wall. It is currently purple with flowers and looks amazing, having recovered from being previously smothered by rampant ivy. We like this plant so much we’ll be featuring more of it tumbling from the patio pot plants and having it growing in the drive, giving pools of purple among the honey-coloured gravel.

Aubretia on the Patio Wall
How does this fall out of fashion?

We then move on to the Forsythia. This is a plant that is currently in full flower and when looking out over the garden, you simply can’t help but be completely distracted by it. Forsythia have a reputation for being gaudy for this reason, but I don’t find them gaudy at all, they’re absolutely glorious. The most vibrant yellow shines out like a beacon across the garden and if it looks this good when only a few feet high, how good is it going to look when it reaches its full height of three metres!?

Forsythia in Flower

Remember, it’s glorious, not gaudy

Finally, we have the new Spiraea x Confusa. We left a large, mature shrub of this plant in our previous garden and I used to look forward to it flowering every year. Each spring it erupts into a mass of white flowers, thousands upon thousands of them, densely packed together, smothering the shrub in white that glows in twilight. I was very sad to leave this shrub behind, but when we created Magnolia Hill, we bought a new Spiraea as a replacement. Although it will be several years before this new shrub reaches the size of the original, it is already flowering and putting on a lovely show, reminiscent of the full show that the new owners must be enjoying in our old garden.

Replacement Spiraea x Confusa

A nostalgic flower show

So there is the Spring Tryptic. There are other plants in flower, but these three are the ones stealing the show at the moment and I hope they will continue to do so year after year.


  1. 1. Aubretia – I love that little plant. Unfortunately for some reason it does not like this garden! Have put it in various places, but it always dies off, which is really surprising given how easy it is to grow.

    2. Forsythia – That vibrant yellow is a lovely show at this time of the year. There is one in a vicarage garden in town that is about 20ft high and at least 10ft spread. Glorious. Did you know that there is a cream one, too?

    3. Spirea – left mine behind too when we moved here 14 years ago. Why didn’t I replace it? No idea, but seeing that pic reminded me how lovely it is and I will be acquiring one again.

    Thanks Sunil.


    1. Hello Mrs Mac, we’re hoping to spread this around various places in the wall and on the drive. We’re trying to grow some from seed but they’re not co-operating yet. As for Forsythia, the more electric yellow they are, the better, I think that’s the whole point of these shrubs. Finally, the Spiraea, I just had to replace the one we left behind, it’s just not a garden without it!


  2. I think it is wise to ignore fashion in plants and just enjoy what you like. All three of these plants have a lot to offer.


    1. Hello Jason, I totally agree. I also think the “limit yourself to ten plants or less” is also a load of nonsense too!


  3. Plant what you like and to hell with anyone’s opinion! I currently have a bright pink clematis growing next to a red and yellow honeysuckle and they look hideous together but I love each plant and have nowhere to move them so they’ll both probably stay. I love all of your featured plants. 🙂


    1. Hi Tammy, that’s a combination I would strive for! Yes, we all know that blue and orange go together, and purple and whites look cool, but clashing colours also need to be there too!


  4. Your aubretia is stunning. I agree that nothing is quite so glorious as forsythia in spring. Here they bloom at the same time as daffodils (now) and are such a joyful sight after our long winters.


    1. Thank you, Jean, we’re trying to grow more Aubretia from seed but the success rate is low. The Forsythia is long gone now but is carpeted the area underneath it in spent yellow flowers as it faded. Perhaps because the Spring was cold and the plants young, but the flowering has been late this year for spring shrubs.


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