The winter can be a depressing period for plant owners. Leaves fall, blossom fades, and a majority of birds and wildlife either migrate or hibernate. At times gardens can become dull, desolate places. Comparably, spring and summer gardens are bustling in with sights, sounds and smells. For those hoping to hold onto the great summer atmosphere in the colder months it might be worth taking a look at the fragrant plants that flower in winter.
Chimonanthus praecox, Luteus
This evergreen shrub features small, domed flowers with many petals. They bear the highly fragrant, waxy flowers in the middle of winter, and are recommended for any low maintenance garden. Hardly any pests prey on them, and they are very hardy. Consider a Luteus if you want to keep your garden colourful and fragrant the entire year, but don’t wish to invest a large amount of time into achieving the goal.
Coronilla Valentina, subspecies Glauca
Another hardy specimen, the Glauca is largely both pest and disease free. Interested gardeners should exercise caution though, as it requires some sheltering during the winter period. The flowers are again pleasantly fragrant to smell, though bloom slightly later than the Luteus, between late winter and very early spring. They’re a great choice for people who don’t want their garden to go through any periods of rest, blooming after the other winter plants, though before the new spring growth.
Daphne bholua, Jacqueline Postill
The Daphne is a favourite among fans of aromatic flowers, and their strong fragrance has been said to be almost intoxicating. Red buds give way to large white flowers around New Years, making quite a striking display in any winter garden, especially in the snow. Generally hardy, it requires protection from the frost in winter, so providing a small amount of shelter will help ensure a healthy blooming. But remember that although the plant can have an exquisitely attractive scent, all parts of it remain highly toxic. Exercise caution if keeping pets or children nearby.
Mahonia x media, ‘Underway’
The Mahonia is a must-have for many avid gardeners. Of those listed here it is perhaps the most stunning, with lengthy rows of bright yellow flowers blooming in the middle of winter. It possesses a delicate fragrance, and is uniformly hardy throughout the UK in most climates, and existing growth is even frost hardy. The plant does, however, prefer partial shade. As an added bonus it produces blue-ish, clustered fruits that can be eaten raw or cooked. They’re acidic but pleasant, though bear in mind they are particularly seed-heavy.
Seeing your garden bloom in the middle of winter can be a very fulfilling experience. Bear these plants in mind and be sure to research others, and see how to inject life into your garden over the colder months.