There are three plants which I associate with the yellow flowers of early spring - daffodils, forsythia and euphorbias. The former are either struggling to hold themselves up against the onslaught of wind, pouring rain and frost that we've had lately (the daffodils) whilst the poor old forysthia had more flowers on it in January. The euphorbias, however, have been showing signs of coming to life for several weeks now. Tough as old boots these plants, for the most part pretty drought tolerant, most very frost hardy and some self seed to the point of being almost weeds. For several months in the spring they come to life with their zingy lime greeny yellow flower heads (OK botanically I think they are bracts as the actual flower is a tiny little thing in amongst it all - think of a Poinsettia - the red parts of the 'flower' are actually leaves....) which turn colour as they fade and form seed heads which are equally decorative.
Euphorbia characias - the photo above was taken on 21 Feb and whilst I did have to contort myself and the camera to get a photo as its flower head is pointing downwards, you can see it's starting to come alive. I've taken the liberty with the rest of them to show photos from last year to show what they'll look like later on.
|3rd week of March - some flower heads open, others still pointing downwards|
|Absolutely zinging in April|
Euphorbia myrsinitis. This next one is my all time favourite. It's evergreen so provides interest all year round with its succulent-like blue green leaves. It's totally drought proof and weather proof but does self seed like crazy, but it's fun hearing its seed heads going pop and exploding all over the place in the summer. It'll be looking like this in a couple of weeks.
|April - starting to form seed pods whilst still looking attractive|
A self seeded one, which I think is the same as the wild ones I have in the woodland, Euphorbia amygdaloides (yes I did google to check on the spelling, which I had actually got right!!)
Later flowering comes Euphorbia polychroma, in April.
Another of the later flowering beauties, Euphorbia martinii, with its handsome red flowers.
Showing how it can still be looking stunning in May, when the earlier flowering Euphorbias have lost their bright colours.
I could never be without this family of plants but it's worth mentioning for anyone not familiar with them, to wear gloves when handling them, as the thick milky white sap is a skin irritant and can cause sore rashes when it comes into contact with the skin, particularly when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It's happened to me only once and it wasn't nice!