Wintersweet is the perfect name for a shrub with deliciously scented flowers that appear in January
This week we will continue with a recent trend of describing plants that offer something at this time of year. Previously we spoke about different types of Viburnum and how they offer nice flowers some of which are fragrant.
There are other plants that start to offer something this time of year. Daphne is a plant that you will grow simply for the delicious scent it gives us. We have planted Daphne’s in our garden and both have a lot of flower buds right now. Daphne’s are shrubs with highly fragrant flowers. They bloom at various times of year, but most especially around now. Most are evergreen, keeping their leaves all year, or semi-evergreen, losing some of their leaves over winter, especially in cold locations.
They are usually fairly compact, slow growing and need little ongoing maintenance. Plant Daphne’s where you can enjoy their scent to the full – near your front door, garden gate, path or patio. If you plant several different types, you can have fragrance almost all year round.
Depending on the species, Daphne’s suit most styles of garden, both formal and informal, traditional or contemporary. They work well in mixed borders, shrub borders, woodland areas and rock gardens. Most are compact and slow growing, so ideal for small gardens. Daphne's are generally slow growing and deep rooted, so shouldn't need feeding.
Winter sweet or Wintersweet is a modest little shrub that is full of surprises. It shrugs its way through the normal growing season with only green foliage as ornament. In the middle of winter, it bursts into bloom and fills the garden with its honeyed fragrance. If you are considering putting wintersweet in the landscape and want some tips on wintersweet plant care, read on.
Winter Sweet or Chimonanthus praecox are very popular ornamentals in their native land of China but are lesser known in Ireland. They were introduced to Japan in the 17th century where the plant is called Japanese allspice. Wintersweet is also cultivated in Japan, Korea, Europe, Australia, and the United States. Wintersweet is deciduous and, although considered a shrub, can grow into a rather small tree of around 15 feet tall (5 m.), although it rarely gets this size in Ireland. It is known for flowering in the middle of winter in sites with appropriate wintersweet growing conditions. The leaves of this shrub start out green but yellow and drop in late autumn. Then, months later, blossoms appear in early winter on bare branches.
The flowers are unusual. Their petals are waxy and butter-yellow with touches of maroon on the inside.
If you plant wintersweet in the landscape, you will find that the smell from the fragrant flowers is powerful and delightful. Some say wintersweet flowers have the most beautiful perfume of any plant.
However, after the flowers cease, the plant fades into the background. It doesn’t really offer any other ornamental features.
For this reason, be sure to plant wintersweet where it can blend in as a background plant. So get these plants if you want scent in the garden in winter!
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