Monday, January 14, 2008

Fragrant Wintersweet Tree

Fragrant Wintersweet Tree
Chimonanthus praecox
(ky-moh-NAN-thus) (pray-koks)

Thinking I would enjoy the last day of moderate weather I went down to Wave Hill Gardens in the Bronx. What a wonderful winter walk I had around the gardens. I found this plant, Chimonanthus praecox, in full bloom. It didn’t look like a sporadic bloom but it was doing what it did every year at this time. Its translucent yellow flowers were highly fragrant and in various stages of blooming. I can’t really report what it is like to have this plant in the garden but after looking it up I will have to give it a chance. I found out it hardy to USDA Zone 6 and grows to 12 to 15 feet tall. It was planted in a protected location at Wave Hill and I will probably do the same with mine. The only negative thing my research turned up is that it can sometimes take several years to bloom. Since I have learned that you really need to have patience in the garden that wouldn’t really bother me.

I will be featuring some of the plants that I saw at the gardens this week. This was a particularly pleasing combination of Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata), Inkberry (Ilex glabra) and although you can’t see it here a low-growing gray Juniper. Winterberry has been featured on this blog before and if you want more information on it click the label for this post. This was the species, which has slightly smaller berries that are spaced a little further apart than most of the cultivars. The species can be variable though.

Yesterday I also went to get shoes. Not that remarkable for most people but when you wear size 16 EE it is always an adventure and sometimes a nightmare. I had heard of a shoe store that was carrying sizes like that and I walked in and quickly scored three pairs at 30% off. Oh happy joy! If I could find a clothing store like that I would be really happy.

Thankfully the snowstorm only dropped 4 inches instead of the forecast 15. The weatherman can be wrong like that every time as far as I am concerned.


Anonymous said...

That Chimonanthus is gorgeous! - What does it smell like? I think we've got to get one - there's nothing blooming for us outside right now. NY bloomers are sometimes a little earlier than RI bloomers though... It's great that you live close enough to Wave Hill to head there for a walk!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Chimonanthus is 1 of those plants I would love to grow, but I'm in Zone 5. I should try to grow it against the east side of the house, maybe then it would survive. It is such a lovely shade of yellow that the fragrance would be just an added bonus.

Mr. Mapper said...

Thanks for visiting my blog the other day. I just posted a pic of our latest family member. check her out.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures as usual. I am happy to hear that you no longer have to run around barefoot! It is a bit chilly for that! LOL I understand as I have large feet also!

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Hi Kris,

I would definitely recommend this one for any large collection. This plant looked like it had been blooming for a couple of weeks so it should still bloom in the dead of winter for you. I am lucky about going to Wave Hill it is a fantastic garden and about 50 minutes from my house.

Mr MGD, hi there. Happy New Year and I would give it a try in a sheltered location.

rhonda, thanks, maybe I will look into that.

layanee, nice to see you again. Simple things like good fitting shoes are beautiful.

Ki said...

The wintersweet looks like quite a nice shrub. I would love to give it a try but our yard is already too full of plants. It looks to be an understory plant though so maybe I can stick one under some trees?

catsynth said...

Great photos, as always.
I visited Wave Hill this past September, it was a great discovery - even though I grew up in the New York area.

catsynth said...

Here's the link for my Wave Hill photos :)

LiveWater said...


I enjoy the beauty and aroma of Fragrant Wintersweet which I plant in my backyard in Flushing, New York 11354. You may visit to see lots of photos.