“Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with a dream.” — Josephine Nuese
Many of us seeing November & December rains and leaves fall off the trees, believe winter’s here and retreat indoors believing nothing to see in the garden until spring…far from it! There are many winter plants with blossoms that will brighten those dark grey days of ours.
Here are some of our favorite winter blooms here at Kismet Design:
Hellebores are favorite among avid gardeners. These evergreen perennials with leathery serrated leaves have showy flower heads of single or double sepals. Many cultivars offer an array of colors with a long flower bloom life, aiding early emerging spring pollinators. Plant hellebores along bed borders, under deciduous trees, containers or in window boxes to enjoy closely their intricate, dimensional blooms.
A classic winter evergreen shrub, Camellia flowers range in color, size, and single or double flower petals that contrast with bright, golden yellow stamens. During a mild winter you may see Camellias bloom as early as December. Camellias in a full sun location will have more and larger blossoms, but Camellias in part to mid shade will have a longer bloom period. Camellias make great privacy hedges or as a lovely, trained espalier along buildings.
A winter garden must have! The scent alone will transport you to another world. Evergreen shrub, typically producing pink blossoms with white or light lavender color hues. Some varieties such as Daphne x transatlantica ‘BLAFRA’ will have its sweet fragrance present year-round periodically. Plant near an entry way or near your favorite sitting area to enjoy their heavenly fragrance.
Snowdrops are of the earliest flower bulb gems to sprout up after the new year. Blooms are pure white, nodding bell-shaped with green tips emerging from brightly green grass like stems. Plant in mass under deciduous trees in full sun for best bloom performance. Once established, the bulbs will naturalize into the landscape.
If you are looking for a special winter specimen in the garden, Magnolia stellata is a great choice and is the earliest blooming of the magnolias. Flower blooms burst into an array of star shapes before leaves emerge. In addition to winter interest, the flower buds before opening are fuzzy and oval, just like pussy willows. Add Star Magnolia in the backdrop of a small yard or in an Asian inspired landscape.
Pieris are carefree evergreen shrubs with all year interest and are versatile in the landscape. The individual flowers are urn shaped, resembling lily-of-the-valley blooms in both white and various shades of pink. The fragrance is subtle but will give a show of pendulous cascading chains of flowers followed by colorful new leaf growth, depending on the variety you’ve chosen.
Cyclamens will pop up with the promise of spring around the corner. Foliage emerges in late autumn – early winter with intricate foliage shapes from heart, ivy, and kidney bean shapes. The tiny flower petals are fused together at the base to form a tube-like structure, with color blooms in white, various shades of pink, red, and purple. Makes a sweet addition in a lawn or alpine gardens.
A lesser-known winter bloomer, this tuberous perennial will brighten a grey day. Winter Aconite have bright yellow blooms that are teacup shaped contrasting against dark emerald, green leaves that appears as a ‘skirt’ under each flower head. Plant in mass under a canopy of trees, cottage gardens, and rock gardens.
A deciduous shrub or trained as upright small trees, Witch Hazel blooms on bare wood, each flower cluster have four petals shaped like thin ribbons from a dark burgundy base called a calyx. Flower colors range from yellow, red, or orange. Witch Hazels do well in suburban gardens, complement well with hellebores, daphnes, and spring flowering bulbs giving a woodland feel in the city.
A winter delight, flower blossoms appear in late winter before leaves emerge into soft yellow, 3-5 flowers per pendant hanging, chain clusters on slender stems. This delicate shrub with an elegant branching habit gives a subtle pleasant floral scent from its blooms. Makes an elegant statement in a mixed landscape bed or cottage garden.
Striking addition to any garden, Edgeworthia exhibits heavenly fragrance with an ombre show of creamy white to sunflower yellow blooms. The dense flower clusters on thick branches have a long bloom period, up to 6 weeks. Once the flowers have been spent, the leaves emerge bluish color with silvery undertones. Plant as a specimen or in a large container to enjoy this beauty.
Flowers are often hidden under its leaves, but once it blooms its scent will catch you by surprise with hints of vanilla in the air. Once the flowers have been spent, Sarcococca will produce shiny red to black fruits, contrasting with its evergreen, glossy dark green leaves. Plant in a part shade location along a pathway to pleasantly surprise passersby that an ordinary shrub could produces such a sweet fragrance.
Let us know in the comments what winter blooms and varieties you would love to have in your garden. We’d love to hear from you!