Euphorbias give us some of the best early spring herbaceous colour, but Euphorbia polychroma has the most impact. This compact variety grows to only 50cm with a great mound of yellow-green flowers in spring and echoes the daffodils.
Collected from Eastern Nepal by Tony Schilling, Euphorbia schillingii, is prized for its unique chartreuse flower heads, textural foliage, and garden structure. The golden-yellow bracts look like stars from a distance and bring a little zing to the garden.
Snake's Head Fritillary, Chequered Lily, Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
Snake's head fritillaries always excite attention wherever they are seen. None of the other lovely members of the fritillaria genus can match this native wildflower for the bizarre and unmistakable colouring of its bell-shaped flowers.
In the last decade, Gaura ‘The Bride’ has skyrocketed to popularity among gardeners.A graceful, hazy plant with airy spikes of white, star-shaped flowers with long anthers like daddy long-legs, held on slender stems from May to September. RHS AGM
Alpine plants are the jewels of the garden, they are performing treasures with a repertoire of colourful tricks to lure us right into their inches-high world. The gentians, produce flowers of such pure, concentrated colour of deep, true Gentian blue.
This cheerful perennial brightens up a sunny garden border, especially one based on hot colours. The semi-double vivid golden yellow flowers, appear on arching stems above rosettes of scalloped, fresh green leaves.
'Mrs J Bradshaw' has everything that a gardener could require: good looks, long flowering season, trouble-free personality and hardiness. Its capacity to flower for a long time makes it an excellent anchorage plant, unifying more ephemeral flowers.
Gunnera is one of the biggest and most spectacular, architectural, herbaceous plants. With gigantic, deeply lobed, deep green leaves, they look best standing as specimen plants or beside a large pond where the reflections reveal the undersides of the leaves
This is another fine, award winning dwarf Sunflower, with deep chocolate-coloured flowers it is a dwarf variety, suitable to the middle rather than back of the border. It is a much-branching plant producing lovely, opulent blooms five inches or so across in a rich chocolate brown.
With bowl shaped, nodding flowers the colour of 'Granny Smith' apples, the Corsican Hellebore is an unmistakable plant. Its stout stems, deep green, leathery leaves and large heads of flowers mark it apart from all other hellebores. Easy to grow in sun or shade.
Christmas Rose, Christmas Hellebore, Black Hellebore
Helleborus niger is smaller and more compact than any of its relatives and is the first in bloom, producing a succession of delicate white flowers throughout winter. It is a welcome sight when the snow thaws to see something so pretty in bloom.
'Blackthorn Strain' is a carefully selected seed strain, with delicate pink flowers backed with pink and green, the stems, petioles and often the anthers are an enchanting ripe berry rose. The saw-toothed foliage is pewter-blue above, burgundy-grey beneath.
'Palace Purple' is a small but striking plant with plush, shiny, rich purple foliage. Although the colour is at its very best in early summer, it is retained all year. In midsummer the plants flower, with short, upright stems of small, creamy white, bell flowers.
Like most first loves, 'Frances Williams' holds a special place in the hearts of many hosta lovers. The large thick quilted leaves are heart-shaped and can easily reach dinner-plate proportions. The flowers which are pale lilac-white follow on tall spires in summer.
The queen of all the large blue hostas, Hosta sieboldiana elegans makes a bold statement in the garden. Introduced in 1905 it is still the standard for steely foliage. The huge, sculptural, blue-green leaves make a dramatic full stop in a pot or the garden.