While other shrubs are bare, evergreens always have something to offer and when they flower for us at this bleak time of year, it’s such a treat. Chimonanthus praecox is one of the finest winter flowering shrubs and is just coming into flower by a south-facing wall in the garden. Native to China, it’s very easy to grow and a large one can reach about 3m.
The lemon yellow flowers appear on the bare wood of last year’s growth and smell absolutely gorgeous. A nice trick is to cut some of these stems just before they flower and put them in a vase in the house to open and fill the room with their scent. Minimal pruning is the best for a Chimonanthus, but if its size does need controlling then just cut the biggest branches after blossom. It is best planted alone in a bed and is fantastic close to the house so its scent can be enjoyed as you come and go.
Words and photographs by Martin