Using six perennials to create a colourful spring planter

The squirrels (and possibly mice and voles as well) have had a field day with some of our tulip bulbs this year. The devastation has resulted in some of our larger patio containers now having just one or two surviving tulips. They look a very sorry sight I’m afraid.

We decided that action needed to be taken if we were to get a decent spring show this year. Last autumn we created some very successful winter planters using a range of hardy evergreen perennial plants and so we thought we might try this again to create some instant impact using spring flowering perennials.

This is certainly not a cheap option but all of the plants we have used can be transplanted out into the garden at a later stage to grow on and establish more permanently. It is therefore not at all difficult to convince yourself that the long term value for money will justify the initial outlay. More importantly it is also great fun simply wandering around the garden centre with your trolley choosing a collection of plants that sit really well together. You can spend a good few hours at this finding the right combination of colours, heights and textures!

So this is the selection of six plants that we finally decided on. I have include some text from the plant labels so you get a better feel for each component.


Cordyline ‘Southern Splender’ – long thin leaves with an arching habit that bear bold longitudinal stripes of pink, red and brown.

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Heuchera ‘Marmalade’ – rich, shiney undulating lime green and russet to amber foliage with pink undersides

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Heuchera ‘Forever Purple’ – ultra-purple glossy leaves with fluted edges.

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Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Pink Frost, Snow Rose’ – silvery green foliage with red stems provide a foil for the soft pink flowers which turn to burgundy red.

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Primula ‘Princess F1 Vintage’ – produces clusters of creamy apricot coloured buds that open to frilly pink flowers surrounded by deep green leaves.

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Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’ – a variegated variety with foliage which is blue green with golden margins and reddish hues in winter as the tips start to form flower buds. It produces large heads of creamy, lime green and yellow flowers from February through to May.

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And finally these are the newly planted up containers (although I am not sure my photographs really do them justice). We were perhaps a little ambitious in how many plants we could actually get into the large urn and so we have used a number of other terracotta pots as well. I think this has actually worked out quite well as it creates additional height and interest in the collection.

All-in-all we are really very happy with how they have turned out. Looked after carefully they should develop and fill out further giving us pleasure over many months (and potentially years).

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The Six on Saturday meme is hosted by The Propagator. Click on the link to be inspired by what other plant lovers are enjoying this weekend.