Spring flowering shrubs bring such a lot of colour into the garden early in the year, and some of the best displays come from Rhododendrons and Azalea. These come in all sizes and many colours, and are easy to grow provided you have acid soil, they need no real attention and have great showy blooms as illustrated right.
In the centre is Camellia Japonica, also very lovely, but not so easy to grow. It too likes acid soil but is much more fussy about it's growing conditions - more info. A real case of "right plant right place", camellia in the right place look fab, but if not quite right the blooms can be browned by frost and the foliage not as glossy green as illustrated.
Mahonia is a late flowering winter shrub compared to Rhododendrons which flower into early summer. One the best known garden favourite spring flowering shrubs is Philadelphus, a lovely creamy white shrub with scented blooms illustrated left. There are some great spring flowering shrubs and sometimes it seems that the most of the attractive flowering shrubs, with the showiest blooms, are often deciduous. This means in winter the deciduous shrubs will be bare and so it is a good idea in a shrub garden to plant a mix of evergreens and deciduous shrubs to create all round interest.
The shrubs below are hardy in most gardens although some may need a more sheltered spot. Most of these shrubs are easy to grow and once established will flower reliably year after year, and for this reason form the mainstay of an easy to maintain garden.
If you have a shrub or plant in your garden and don't know what it is or how to look after it, why not e mail a photo to the Sunday Gardener for help