After a long winter, is there anything more exciting than the sights and sounds of spring? With bird song in the garden, blossom on the trees and bulbs brightening up flower beds, spring is such an uplifting season. As the garden bursts into leaf and the evenings are lighter, it’s a joy to spend time outside preparing the garden for the months ahead. I find the spring garden such a wonderful time of year and if you can’t wait any longer to see colour and textures, it’s essential to ensure spring plants are ready to burst into action! If you would like your garden to be a haven of calm and tranquillity, but still with plenty of colour, there are a few points to keep in mind when it comes to deciding what plants to grow.

Colourful yet calm gardens are a pleasure to be in at any time of year, but on warm spring days in a relaxing garden, sowing seeds is a way to de-stress and immerse in the beauty of nature. A morning cup of herbal tea sitting at a patio table watching the birds collect nesting materials and the bees begin to buzz around the nectar rich plants, is a true tonic for the soul. Designing your garden to be a calm space means thinking about the feeling of being safe and enclosed, incorporating a water feature, sharing your space with wildlife and including areas to sit, observe and relax. Think about fulfilling all of your senses with soothing plants to touch, some that rustle in the breeze, others to fill the air with fragrance, tasty edible plants and a plant that you simply love to see flowering. A cool colour scheme consists of lots of greenery plus colours such as white, lilac and pink. However you create your own calm space, it should be personal to you, but here are some plants that will look lovely in any tranquil garden setting.

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White plants:

Lavandula x intermedia ‘Exceptional’ (hillav)

This is a new plant and is an ‘exceptionally’ beautiful, white flowering lavender. Perfect for pollinators and with such a well-recognised fragrance, it brings a familiar and safe feel to the spring garden. Flowering towards the end of spring and into summer, you’ll enjoy colour and scent for a long period and can snip some for use indoors as well. Think lavender ice cream, oils and soap. 

Convolvulus cneorum

The silvery evergreen foliage complements the pink buds and that’s even before they burst open to show white petals and a pink stripe. This has the RHS Award of Garden Merit which is no wonder as it’s a seriously underrated plant. Grow in well-drained soil with plenty of sun. Easy to care for; just prune it all the way back to the ground each year.

Syringa persica ‘Alba’

This beauty is a white variety of the well-known Lilac shrub. Growing up to 2.5m tall, it’s perfect for a cottage garden and will grow in almost any aspect. The flowers begin to bloom towards the end of spring and through the summer and the foliage remains interesting as well. The scent is beautiful and a few stems of flowers look wonderful in a vase.

Lilac plants:

Iris germanica ‘Jane Philips’

Growing up to 1m tall, the light blue and white scented flowers will arrive late spring into early summer along with grey/green foliage. Fascinating to look closely at, it will definitely catch your attention. Iris will thrive in well-drained soil, full sun and neutral to slightly acidic soil.

Allium ‘Globemaster’

The round flower heads are actually many star-shaped flowers which are unmistakable, especially ‘Globemaster’ as they can grow up to 15cm across. The purple flowers on tall stems look magical popping up above other lower growing plants. They remind me of fireworks when they explode in the sky. Plant bulbs 15cm deep in autumn in a sunny border or in containers.

Pink plants:

Scabiosa ‘Pink Mist’

The grey-green foliage of this Scabiosa is almost fern-like, but it’s the pink flowers that are the real treat. Watch plenty of pollinators visit as the flowers keep on blooming for months. Plant in full sun (they will tolerate part shade) and well-drained soil. Great for cottage gardens, beds and containers.

Digitalis Purpurea ‘Serendipity’

This is a stunning new perennial Foxglove with pinkish flowers shaped almost like Orchids and Foxglove speckles. The petals even look a little frilly! A total pleasure to see, not just for the flower spikes that can grow up to 1.5m high and are full of flowers, but because you’ll be watching bees all day long enjoying the nectar. Grow in moist, well-drained soil in a lightly shaded spot.

Dianthus Scent First ‘Candy Floss’

A pretty pink and frilly Dianthus with a gorgeous scent that is sure to make you smile. Plant them in full sun or partial shade in a patio planter. Place it on the table or right by the side you sit at so you can fully enjoy the scent when you sit down to relax.

About the Author

Ellen Mary is a gardener, author and horticultural broadcaster who lives and breathes everything to do with plants and how they can improve quality of life.

She is a leading expert in wellbeing and in particular how nature and gardening can improve both physical and mental health. Ellen has been recognised as one of the Top 5 Women Influencers in Horticulture.

Ellen has previously given talks on wellbeing at events such as RHS Chelsea, hosts a horticultural radio show on Future Radio and co-presents The Plant Based Podcast. She has also appeared and presented on TV in the UK & USA.  She started her career in HR before turning to her true passion, gardening. Having discovered first-hand the health and wellbeing benefits that plants can have from personal experience, Ellen shares advice tips, advice and commentary on the power of plants from a holistic point of view for health. As well as studying horticulture with the RHS, Ellen is trained in social and therapeutic horticulture, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and now wellness coaching. She has run workshops, given talks and led courses, webinars and talks on the subject. She now shares her knowledge by helping others through wellness coaching.

Ellen sees her relationship with plants and the natural world as a holistic bubble that has helped her to navigate difficult times in her personal life. With gardening, plant based eating and her allotment acting as a saviour for her.

Find her online:


Instagram: @ellenmarygardening