We're beginning to have more warm days than cold, and it feels like summer really is around the corner. It makes us want to fill our garden up with flowers so we can enjoy their beautiful colours and heady perfumes. Looks can be deceiving, though, and nature is often fickle. There's no guarantee that we haven't left chilly evenings and hazardous night frosts behind. We have to stay on our guard until mid-May, and restrain our desire for fragile flowering annuals. Fortunately there are also frost-resistant flowering plants that you can pot out right now, to make the most of the first rays of sunshine, while we wait for summer to hit.
Magnificant daisy: Bellis perennis
This cultivated version of the wild field daisy blooms exceptionally early, and keeps flowering over and over throughout the year. It's a wonderful ally in a battle against night frost, as it takes frost damage in its stride, and continues putting out cheerful new flowers. You can rely on Bellis perennis to provide the year's first bright colours in your garden or flower pots.
Cold beauty: garden rose
The rose's beauty isn't just limited to spring: some varieties of the flower spread colour and cheerfulness throughout November, December and January, defying even the bitterest cold. While the garden rose doesn't exactly enjoy frost, the plant perks straight back up when it gets warmer, with no great harm done. Whether in white, yellow, apricot, pink, dark purple, the flowers always make us smile.
Wild flower: primula and primrose
A variation on classic, cultivated varities, wild primulas and primroses bring bursts of colour to the outdoors. The plants are happy in the shade and flower all the way through spring, providing wonderful frost-free flashes of brightness to flowerbeds.