I've started posting the newest entry at the top now! (previous months the newest was at the bottom each time
March 5th: Coloured leaf geraniums
Lots of perennials are putting forth new growth and often the new leafs are full of colour.
Among the hardy geraniums there are lots with good spring colour particularly within the oxanianum and phaeum types.
There are also lots of brown-leafed types available too.
Some like Katherine Adele and...
... Spring Fling have their best colour now, fading by the summer.
Others like Springtime and ...
... phauem Varigatum keep their colour through the summer
March 2nd: Is it dead?
During March and April one of the most common moans I hear at plant fairs is "my salvias are all dead". You can probably replace salvia with any number of perennials or shrubs.
The thing is lots of plants are growing away at this time and look to be bursting into life again, whilst others are just dead sticks or worse still no sticks, no nothing showing! It's easy to assume they're dead. My comment is get back to the compost heap, fish 'em out and replant!
For most shrubs you can tell when something is alive by rubbing off a small piece of bark on a young stem with your finger nail. If it's green or juicy underneath then all is well. But some herbaceous perennials show no life in the stems or are obstinately hiding underground.
My advice is never give up on a perennial, at least not until late June. For example, a lot of my New World salvias show no sign of life until the end of May in a good year. The only exception is when all that remains is a soft, slimy, mess in the ground: this is usually terminal although some tenacious plants my still recover from buds on the longer roots taking perhaps a year to arise from the dead. After the exceptional winter of 2011 I "lost" my Eryngium eburneum and Kniphofia Zululandia only to see the resurrection of the former six months late and the latter two years later!