One of my favourites, Chimonanthus praecox
, is equally seductive, and this garden will host some of the first snowdrops of the New Year.
Here is a starting list of bee friendly plants to consider: Winter flowering viburnums, mahonias, lonicera purpusii, chimonanthus praecox
, chaenomeles, winter-flowering heathers, apples and pears, borage, bluebells, bellis, ajuga, myosotis, dandelion, cytisus, currants, forsythia, clover, aquilegia, cotoneaster, pyracantha, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, chives, cheiranthuus, digitalis, nepeta, clover, hawthorn, blackthorn, elderberry, wild and species roses, thymus, oregano, achillea, solidago, lavendula, aster, scabious and teasel.
For winter charm, choose Chimonanthus praecox
, the wintersweet.
Alternatively plant Chimonanthus praecox
or winter sweet for the delicious spicy scent that is produced by the weather-resistant yellow bell- shaped flowers.
(Wintersweet) A strong, vigorous, upright shrub producing small pale yellow tinged purple flowers along bare branches, from mid-winter to spring.
SPOT some wildlife - while we still have the remnants of the prolonged cold spell, our wildlife is just as likely to remain in hibernation but, if you keep an eagle eye open on any warmer days that we get, you may be lucky enough to spot the first bumble bees searching out a quick fix from a late winter shrub that is in full flower despite the cold - look out for shrubs such as Lonicera x purpusii, mahonias, Sarcococca, Chimonanthus praecox
, Cornus mas or Viburnum x bodnantense from your local garden centre or nursery.
Wintersweet, Chimonanthus praecox
, is grown less often, perhaps because the flowers are a little less obvious and less brightly coloured than its rivals.
If you want to surround doors and windows with fragrance it's possible with clematis cirrhosa balearica and Wintersweet or chimonanthus praecox
Late winter and spring: Galanthus, Eranthus, Salix, Corylus, Lonicera x purpusii, Mahonia, Chimonanthus praecox
, Sarcoccoca, Scilla, Chionodoxa, Pulmonaria, Lunaria, Symphytum, Borago, Myosotis, Aubretia, Arabis, Hyacinth, Tulip, Acer, Aesculus, Betula, Crataegus, Prunus, Fraxinus, Berberis, Chaenomeles, Malus, Pyrus, Viburnum, Ribes, Forsythia.
This can be very simple - hyacinths in pots, whose perfume matches the colourful bulb, being strong and heady, or the more subtle Chimonanthus praecox
, a wall shrub that I have talked about in these pages before and which will forever remind me of my college days.
Will you bring in one or two stems of Hamamelis mollis, Chimonanthus praecox
or Lonicera purpusii in a few weeks so that the flowers and their wonderful scent can permeate your house, covering up the aroma of boiling sprouts?
A great wall shrub for mild areas and sunny walls is the Winter Sweet, Chimonanthus praecox
, which will reach the top of your door frame in about 10 years.
ALSO known as Chimonanthus praecox
, its oddly-shaped yellow and purple-centred flowers emit a sweet perfume during the winter months.