Thursday, January 24, 2008
Two More Winter Bloomers
Two More Winter Bloomers
I have been keeping my eyes open for flowers and in addition to the Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) that was featured here recently I found my Winter Jasmine and Chinese Witch Hazel blooming. My hat goes off to these plants, which despite the cold temperatures and biting winds have come out to add a little color to the winter landscape.
Weeping Winter Jasmine
Synonym: Jasminum sieboldianum
This is an interesting and underused shrub that brings some winter interest to the garden. This one only had a few flowers right now but later in the winter and with the help of a few mild days it will be in full bloom. It can be effective cascading over stonewalls or on sloped banks. While it is rated for USDA Zone 6 I think it does better in Zone 7. If you are planting it in Zone 6 try and chose a warm sheltered location for it.
Following its species name, nudiflorum, its flowers emerge before the foliage. The leaves themselves are small and not very showy. Even with some sporadic flowering later in the year this shrub tends to fade in the background but it emerges very bright right when you need that the most. This Western China native can be difficult to buy, it isn’t offered that often, but is definitely worth the hunt for the medium and larger garden.
Chinese Witch Hazel
Hamamelis mollis ‘Pallida’
There seems to be a little cloudiness in regards to the naming of this plant. It seems a lot of people also call it Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida' and you can find it listed under that name also. I am going to let the botanists fight that one out. When I first starting growing this Witch Hazel I was less than enchanted with this one but over the years this shrub has proved to be a reliable bloomer and a good garden citizen. It doesn’t take much upkeep (a great benefit in my mind) other than cutting the occasional sucker from under the graft I also top mine since I don’t really want to have it grow to the full height of 15 feet. Sometimes the dead leaves hang on through the winter and they should be removed to see the full glory of the flowers. ‘Pallida’ is superior to the species mainly because of the heavier flowering. Plant it with an eye towards it being a large shrub but also keep in mind you will want to enjoy the flowers and fragrance up close.
This plant was first collected in China around 1870 and ‘Pallida’ was first cataloged by the RHS in the 30’s. It likes well-drained soil that has organic matter in it. It can benefit from a yearly dressing of leaf-mold compost.