5 garden plants to banish winter gloom.

Winter flowering shrubs which bring colour or scent, preferably both, are to be welcomed during the cold months of January and February. I like to plant them near the house so that they can be viewed from a kitchen window or where I can smell them on the way to the front door.

1.Hamamelis (Witch hazel). 

Winter colour

Lovely spicy scented spidery flowers, in yellow or orange-red, in winter. An open sunny position with good moisture is best. They need little pruning and can be grown successfully in pots as long as the compost doesn’t dry out.

Hamamelis x  intermedia 'Orange Beauty'.

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Beauty’.

2. Daphne 

Daphnes have the most wonderful scent so plant them near the house or along a path. They like humus-rich soil but dislike waterlogging; D. mezereum is more tolerant of heavy soils. Roots like to be kept cool, so mulch in spring. D. bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’ (AGM) is a good choice with deep pink, very fragrant flowers. I have a lovely D. odora ‘Aureomarginata”which has nice yellow-edged leaves and purple fragrant flowers.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

3. Viburnum tinus

A great plant for a shady moist area, it will sit unnoticed until the small pinkish buds open into scented white flowers, followed by deep blue berries. It is a useful plant for shaded courtyards, where it will draw you outside in winter to appreciate the scent. ‘Eve Price’ is a popular cultivar but I also like ‘Gwenllian’; both have been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM), as has ‘French White’.

Viburnum tinus

Viburnum tinus

 4. Chimonanthus praecox  (Wintersweet)

Chimonanthus means “winter flowering” and this shrub produces really interesting many-petalled yellow flowers, highly fragrant, during winter. It’s best grown in a sheltered position, perhaps against the house wall.

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox

5. Mahonia

A structural plant with interesting spiky evergreen leaves, that does need space to grow. You will really begin to notice it once the perennials have died back and its strongly scented yellow flowers emerge, sometimes followed by blue-black berries. Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’ has bright yellow flowers; M.japonica has drooping sprays of fragrant light-yellow flowers throughout winter.



All these shrubs are freely available and should bring colour and scent to your winter garden.

5 thoughts on “5 garden plants to banish winter gloom.

  1. I have to say that I do not recognize any of these flowers. What a good idea to plant spring flower around your front door and kitchen window. I have snowdrops, daffodils and tulips…I could use a few more though. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this post very much. The value of winter flowering shrubs is brought home to me every January when my Witch Hazel flowers. Sadly, I unwittingly purchased a variety with no scent. Can you suggest a scented one?
    I love the Wintersweet….but fear that I may struggle to find a sheltered enough position for it. I have all the other shrubs, apart from a Daphne as mine recently died. I think its fragrance is my favourite. What strikes me as a little sad is that I take my Mahonia a little for granted because it is so resilient and easy to grow, the same goes for the Viburnum Tinus. I must go out and pick some today and celebrate their beauty….I think I feel you have given me inspiration for some photos!


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