Winter flowering plants

Garden magazines. They gush over winter flowering plants at this time of year. And the next issue – February – will always feature snowdrops.

I have never got round to buying hammemelis (can’t even spell it. hamamelis).  Witch hazel. Probably because I always baulk at the price.

But there is one plant in the garden which always makes me smile as it is the first to flower. Winter flowering jasmine.  Jasminium nudiflorum.

1winter flowering jasmineI went over to our friends Leslie and Teo’s many years ago and goggled at this flowering plant. They live much higher in the Ardèche mountains, so have harder winters to endure.

It was mid winter, viciously cold, and there were these tough little branches, flowering their socks off.

If they had socks.

Leslie yanked up a few plants on the spot (she is one of those generous gardeners you just love) and hours later I had plonked them in my own garden as sorry sticks. I planted them in the east garden, up against the wooden lean to wall where we store our wood.

Neglect? Yes, I always forget to water them.  They are growing, maybe not thriving.  But for years now I have watched them flower in winter with the same amazement and delight.

We need our colour in winter. And although I’m not a fan of yellow plants (get thee behind me Spanish broom, forsythia et al) I think that the sight of these little small flowers (no scent alas) bravely flowering makes up for the lesser preferred colour.

I don’t know why I’m not a fan of yellow. In a few weeks from now I expect you will all be saturated with the colour of my early narcussis which are coming up in the duck pond garden.  I was worried this heavy snowfall might have damaged the stems.  The narcissus bridal crown in the barrel near the herb garden are looking poorly. (That will teach me to plant double flowering narcissus.)  But I think the Rijnveld Early Sensations are made of sturdier stuff.