While visiting some of my favorite green spaces this winter my nose has lead the way. On sunny, winter days the breeze carries the scent of favorite, winter woody ornamentals. If you are looking for fragrance in your garden there are heavy hitters in full glory by February in the Carolinas. Yes, the flowers ignite the blood hound in me and the bees alike and and we will follow their sweet molecules for the visual reward of a cherished winter bloom.
Chasing down a sweet scent I turned a corner to be greeted by a glistening chimonanthus praecox in the winter sun late this January here in Raleigh. This long bloomer, aptly commonly named winter sweet, can start bursting as early as November well throughout late winter. The sturdy, iridescent yellow flowers are likened to ice flowers and make beautiful cuttings for flower arrangements. Growing up to 10 to 15 feet it is considered a large shrub or small tree. This slow grower likes well draining amended soils and can take full sun to part shade.
Lonicera fragrantissima, winter's honeysuckle, is one of those olfactory sensations that I seek out annually as I long for the warmer days of spring. Flourishing in full sun to part shade, it prefers evenly moist soil. This plant has a very similar loose growth habit as a large forsythia. I have seen them nicely pruned in well established gardens to a 3 foot level and allowed to grow to an enormous 8 plus feet tall and wide to fill a space. It works great as a border or near an entrance.
Daphne odora is a delicate broach adorning your winter garden. The aroma is sweet and citrusy, blooming in January and well into late winter. Evenly moist, well draining soil is a
must for this 2-3 foot, evergreen shrub. Both Daphne and close relative, Edgeworthia papyrifera, pictured below, can tolerate full, winter sun but need protection from scorching, summer sun. Place in woodland gardens and areas of part shade to shade during our hotter months.
Edgeworthia is one of those stunning oddities that when in bloom I daily get asked what is this? The evolution of bloom is slow and long lasting, from a velvety, tight oval bud to a round, honeycomb, fragrant, yellow tinged flower. They can grow as much as 6 to 7 feet and will produce sucker colonies if left alone over time although I would not consider this plant invasive. It is popular to grow and maintain as single trunk specimens in smaller spaces. One simply has to prune out shoots from the trunk during the growing season.
All of these fragrant, winter beauties are in stock and in full bloom here at Garden Supply. One does not have to wait for spring for fragrant flowers as the cooler months are a great time to plant woody ornamentals. I look forward to seeing you at the shop and introducing you to these winter delights.