Top Ten March Blooms.

It is spring at last so we have plenty of lovely blooms to chose from and it’s difficult to pick out favourites.

1. Azara microphylla.

My first March plant is a tree that does not have showy flowers; they have no petals and consist of clusters of yellow stamens. They are hidden away in the leaf axils and you could walk past it without noticing it. But it is a winner because of the intense vanilla fragrance of the little yellow flowers which pervades the garden. It is absolutely delicious. Azara microphylla has small glossy leaves arranged in a herringbone pattern and as it is evergreen it always looks good. It comes from Chile so a really hard winter can blacken the leaves but I have it growing against a wall and it always recovers. I think it must be the most pervasively fragrant flower I grow apart from Elaeagnus angustifolia. Some people think it smells of chocolate, others say marzipan. But to me, it is definitely vanilla.

Azara microphylla

2. Stachyurus praecox.

March is the time for a shrub with dangling strings of  primrose- yellow beads on bare branches. Stachyurus praecox comes from Japan, it is a fabulous sight in bloom. I used to have one with variegated leaves called ‘Magpie’.  I am sure it had longer racemes too but perhaps this was the impression it gave because it was such a huge bush.  It looked good when in leaf as well, I don’t know how readily available it is. My Stachyurus praecox is only two or three years old so I am looking forward to it getting a bit bigger.

Stachyurus praecox

3. Cornus mas.

I love the little yellow flowers of Cornus mas at this time of the year, I used to have a huge tree of this which was a wonderful sight against a blue sky. I shall have to be patient to wait for my little tree to be as impressive as that one.

Cornus mas

I recently saw a similar tree which was much showier with larger flowers called Cornus officinalis so I think I shall seek this one out for my winter garden.

Cornus officinalis

4. Edgeworthia chrysantha.

All my favourites seem to be yellow so far. I have heard that Edgeworthia  chrysantha can be tricky but mine is three years old and is doing very well. This year it is looking wonderful. It has cluster of tubular yellow flowers.  They are fragrant but not in the stop -you- in -your -tracks way of Azara microphylla. You have to go and sniff it. The buds are hairy and look as if they are frosted with silver. It can’t take too much frost so I cover it with fleece in winter. It is worth the effort to look after it.

Edgeworthia chrysantha


5. Ribes.
Three flowering currants are looking good just now. Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ comes into bloom earlier than the ubiquitous pink one. I think it is much prettier.

Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’

A little more unusual is the green flowered Ribes laurifolium. I love green flowers and this is a gem. It will climb if you give it a climbing frame. It roots easily if you bury part of a branch. The one to look out for is Ribes laurifolium ‘Amy Doncaster’.

Ribes laurifolium

Even more unusual is the bright red dangly ear-ring flower of Ribes speciosum which looks as if it a fuchsia. It does better if it has the protection of a wall, I grow it on the front of the house.

Ribes speciosum

6 Clematis.

I have to include Clematis armandii because it is looking wonderful right now and goodness, how it grows, it is making a great job of covering the unsightly fence and has made its way into a nearby variegated holly too. I like it so much that I recently bought a pink one called ‘Apple Blossom’. But I will have to wait another year or two to get flowers.

Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’

7. Prunus.

As it is spring we have to have some cherry blossom. Prunus ‘Kursar’ makes a neat little tree and has masses of small dark pink flowers. It blooms very early at the beginning of March and has gone over now.

Prunus ‘Kursar”

Dear little Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ is a slow-growing shrub which is covered in the most delicate blossom. It comes from the volcanic slopes of Mount Fuji.

Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-No-Mai’

For my last three top flowers, it’s a puzzle which to chose from the gallimaufry of little gems that are carpeting the garden right now.  Actually, it’s probably impossible to improve on the wild flowers we enjoyed lining the lanes when we were out on our bikes yesterday.

But we  gardeners are always searching for some more recherché varieties of plants that really can’t be improved upon. And of course at this time of the year we are starved of colour. Yellow is everywhere but the deep blue of spring flowers is particularly pleasing.

Spring, of course,  is the time for pink blossom but there are plenty of pink flowers carpeting the ground.

OK, that was just a little diversion to fit a few more flowers in. For my number eight I have to choose corydalis because it makes carpets in shades of pink and violet in March and then disappears completely. Corydalis solida and Corydalis cava have to be on the list. I started with named ones like red Corydalis ‘George Baker’, pink Corydalis ‘ Beth Evans’, lilac Corydalis cava and creamy Corydalis malkensis. They seed around freely in a rainbow of colours. After flowering they disappear completely.

9. Narcissus.

March of course is daffodil time so we have to feature a few.  I love the miniature ones. Little Narcissus cyclamineus is a diminutive gem with a long trumpets and swept back petals. It comes from Portugal and enjoys damp soil. I like it with black grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’.

Narcissus cyclamineus


Queen Anne’s Double Daffodil, Narcissus Eyestettensis is one of the oldest in cultivation. It likes a cool woodland position so when I have finished enjoying it in the greenhouse this is where it will go.

Narcissus eyestettensis


Narcissus ‘P.W.Milner.’ is another old variety dating back to before 1869.

Narcissus ‘P.W.Milner’

Here are  a few more.

10. Lathyrus vernus.

My last plant is a charming spring-flowering cousin of the climbing sweet pea. It is a perennial and makes a nice dense clump full of flowers.


The pink form is even more floriferous. I have never bothered propagating this plant but this summer I will try sowing some seeds, you can’t have too many of such a pretty plant.

Lathyrus vernus ‘Alboroseus

I’m sure you are all relishing some fabulous March flowers now and I would love to see them and I am sure everybody else would too. Please join me and share your favourites, with a link so we can all enjoy them. I shall post my top Ten April Blooms on the 23rd April.

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39 Responses to Top Ten March Blooms.

  1. Frog says:

    What precious gems you grow ! The corydalis and the lathyrus vernus are my favourite I think but everything is so delicate, and chosen with obvious care and refinement. I often have to content myself with bog standard plants and it is a joy to come to your place and discover more unusual ones thanks to your blog.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Frog. It seems rude calling you Frog, I wish I knew your name. The corydalis is one of my favourites too, but for scent at the moment you can’t beat the Azara microphylla.

  2. Pingback: 10 good things for March – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  3. Christina says:

    What a wonderful selection of plants Liz. You are always so clever in searching out the best varieties. I’ve managed to join you this month, the garden is so full of beauty. Hardly any are the same as yours.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Christina, I am so glad you are joining in and I am off now to look at your March blooms.
      BtW, I am going to Suffolk Plant Heritage this afternoon to listen to Anna Pavord talking about Bulbs for All Seasons. I wish you were here to come with me.

  4. Pingback: Ten good things this March – Doing The Plan

  5. Pauline says:

    What a wonderful selection of amazing flowers you have, spring has certianly arrived with you, you have such a wonderful selection of flowering trees and shrubs.. I have joined with you this month as so much is going on in the garden here.
    My link is http:/

    • Chloris says:

      I know you share my love for winter and spring flowers Pauline, your woodland garden must be looking wonderful right now. Thamk you for joining in and sharing your treasures.

  6. jenmac13 says:

    Hi Chloris, what a lovely collection you have to share!

    I’m really enjoying watching spring emerge on the gardening blogs, here’s my top ten for March 🙂

  7. Oh my goodness your garden is so well stocked. I had to look up Azara as it is new to me. I love the sound of its vanilla/ chocolate/ marzipan scent.
    I am not a fan of Ribes but I do like your white one, I shall have to look for it.

    • Chloris says:

      Azara is worth planting, it always looks nice with its glossy little leaves and the vanilla smell is amazing. You can get a variegated one too. I think Ribes White Icicles is much nicer than the pink one.

      • I think I would like both Chloris. The weather this morning is very lovely do I shall be out in the garden for as long as possible before I need to go off to visit family. Enjoy.

  8. Kris P says:

    You’ve so many wonderful flowering trees! Regrettably, the stone fruit trees that bloom in Spring are becoming harder to grow here as our temperatures warm – they just don’t get enough winter chill. Few of your carpet flowers will grow here either. Of course, we can still grow a lot and my garden is a riot of color right now. I chose not to repeat my mid-month Bloom Day post for the most part, selecting only the late March stars of my garden for my version of this top 10 list. Here it is:

    • Chloris says:

      My magnolias are coming into bloom now too but I shall write about them in another post. This is a lovely time of the year in UK gardens but yours looks wonderful all year round, I am always amazed by the range of stunning plants you grow. Thanks for joining in today Kris, and now my life will not be complete until I find a Ferraria crispa.

  9. Heyjude says:

    What a lovely spring garden you have with some unusual plants. I always love to see what you have in your garden. I saw a Stachyurus praecox in Trengwainton garden a couple of weeks ago, it was a big shrub and covered in those delicate bell-like earrings. Azara sounds pretty amazing and probably better than my winter honeysuckle for scent. I shall have to look that one up.

    • Chloris says:

      Stachyurus is a gorgeous early spring shrub. You can also get a variegated Azara microphylla which looks pretty. They should do well in Cornwall as you don’t usually get such vicious frosts. You can get different azaras with larger flowers that bloom a bit later, but none of them have the amazing vanilla scent..

  10. Ali, The Mindful Gardener says:

    As always in your garden, I am spoilt for choice! I fell in love with Stachyurus praecox this week – what a gorgeous flower! Edgeworthia is beautiful too. Enjoy the sunshine today!

  11. Cathy says:

    I am always impressed by the variety in your garden, and also your unusual plants not found in most gardens. Those blue flowers – especially the Pulmonaria – are lovely!

    • Chloris says:

      I like to seek out lesser known varieties of flowers and to have the challenge of growing something more difficult. I love blue flowers, the Pulmonaria is ‘Blue Ensign’.

  12. a wonderful March collection! It’s amazing how many yellow flowers there are in Spring.

  13. Pingback: Tulips (and Other Things) in March | Rambling in the Garden

  14. Cathy says:

    Thank you for sharing all these gems with us Chloris – it is always good to see all your more unusual plants. I was looking at Ribes today but think they would be too tall for the semi shaded border and need more sun than they would get. White Icicle is gorgeous! I recemtly found I hadn’t lost a new Lathyrus vernus ‘Alboroseus’ after all, but I don’t think it will flower this year. Good to know it spreads nicely though. My rushed post is here:
    Thanks for hosting

    • Chloris says:

      Ribes laurifolium doesn’t grow too tall and it has the advantage of being willing to climb. Thank you for finding the time to join in Cathy, I enjoyed your March treasures.

  15. tonytomeo says:

    I SO need to investigate our Cornus mas more closely. Others have posted pictures that resemble yours, but none resemble mine. I am sort of wondering if I have misidentified it. I expect that it could look rather different because some of the foliage hangs on and rots until new foliage develops. Yet, there is more to the differences than that. The twigs are not the same, and the flowers are not as pretty. There were more years ago, but some have been cut down because they are not very pretty. Cornus florida does surprisingly well, considering that it is quite unhappy in the Santa Clara Valley just a few miles away. Cornus stolonifera is a native that does TOO well. I often remove it from where it is not wanted.

    • Chloris says:

      Cornus mas has quite small flowers but the overall effect with masses of them is lovely. Cornus florida is gorgeous.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Cornus florida does surprisingly well here! It does not do nearly as well in the Santa Clara Valley. Some are quite large! I do not know where the Cornus mas came from, but there are a few. We cut them down if they interfere with something else. They are not a priority tree. It is sad because they are a ‘Cornus’. To me, that is something fancy!

  16. I love them all, but I think my favorites are the “blues” of March–something about those deep, lavender-tinted shades of blue that melt my heart. Your garden is full of color. I will have to join in the meme next month!

    • Chloris says:

      I agree Beth, blue is very special in spring. Chionodoxa is particularly good because it seeds around and creates large pools of blue or rivers if you help it. Oh yes, do join in next month, that would be lovely.

  17. snowbird says:

    Goodness, the sheer variety of plants in your delightful garden always blows me away! I love blue spring flowers too. Oh….that double daffadowndilly is nothing short of fabulous!xxx

  18. I just spotted my patch of lathyrus vernus unfurling last week, but your L. ‘Alboroseus is one step beyond. So many flowers! If it grows from seed I would ask you to chuck some my way, pretty please.

  19. You have such marvelous March blooms! My favorites are Prunus incisa and Clematis armandii. And I wish I could smell the Azara.

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