My garden always looks a little dull in winter, could you recommend some good winter-flowering shrubs?
Winter flowers are a real joy and many are highly scented and good to pick. If you’ve room go for wintersweet, Chimonanthus praecox, because the almost-translucent yellow and tomato-red flowers, appear on bare branches. It’s highly scented, much hardier than it’s given credit for, and it picks well. It does look scruffy in summer and winter honeysuckle, Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ shares the untidy summer look. The ivory-white flowers, which appear slightly before the foliage, have a honeysuckle fragrance that’s highly appreciated by any early flowering bees.
The best, heavily-scented small evergreen is Christmas Box and Sarcococca confusa combines rich-green foliage and ivory-white cluster of flower. Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, a columnar evergreen with waxy pink January flowers, is glorious although it needs a sheltered spot. I’d also find room for Viburnum x burkwoodii, for its later, lily-scented roundels of blush-white flowers. Finally, if you’ve got deep soil, the spidery, freesia-scented lemon-yellow witch hazel, Hamamelis x media ‘Pallida’, is superb in January. Always buy witch hazels in flower and do sniff them.
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