Winter puts on its beauty in blossoms

Kathy Henderson

Garden Columnist

There are so many blooms in the landscapes around the county. Except for those on the Bradford and rogue calleryana pears, the flowers are a welcome sight. The winter was a difficult one with some cold and very wet weather. Weather that was miserable at times to navigate but weather that helped make these massive number of blooms and that will hopefully bring us very tasty peaches.

This is a great time to make a list of those earliest blooms that you want to add to your landscape. It is also a great time to plant shrubs and trees. I have made a list of those that I want to plant - hope I don’t spend all the grocery money.

Definitely, I need more daffodils. I have groups of them around the yard. I like to plant them in groups - little clusters of flowers that look like they are conversing about the coming of Spring. I am also making a note to dig out the ones that have somehow crawled under shrubs. How did that happen? I’ll do that as soon as the foliage turns yellow and go ahead and plant them. I want some very special ones to plant along the walkways that I frequent in winter and near my favorite viewing window.

These I will order during the summer when I receive those catalogs that offer early ordering specials.

Honeybees enjoy a winter drink from an Okame cherry tree. Special photo

My neighbor across the street has several of the early flowering cherry, ‘Okame’. I am so envious. Got to put at least two of those on my list. The honeybees love this tree. The deep pink color is a real attention grabber.

Deciduous magnolias have been beautiful this year. That does not always happen. In some years they start to bloom when a drop in temperature destroys most of the blossoms and turns them a showy brown. Not this year - some have so many blossoms that it makes you wonder if you could add another one anywhere on the plant. The M. stellata’s are the earliest with their spidery white or light pink blooms. Followed by the Japanese magnolia - M. soulangeana - varieties start to bloom. The “little girl” series produce shades of purple and pink flowers: ‘Jane’, ‘Ann’ and ‘Betty’ are the most popular. “Butterflies” is a yellow cultivar. This begins to bloom when the purple ones are in full bloom. These grow with multiple stems and mature at about 10 to 15 feet.

Flowering quince is a popular early-flowering shrub with flowers that are red, orange, peach, or white. My favorite is peach-colored ‘Cameo’ which grows to about 4 feet tall and wide and is filled with flowers now.

Edgeworthia chrysantha is amazing at this time. It starts with silver bud clusters in November and very gradually opens to a round ball of tiny yellow fragrant flowers in February and March. This grows into a very large shrub. The leaves appear after the blooms and they are an attractive blue-green. It loves rich moist soil.

Along with this is the evergreen and very, very fragrant Daphne odora which needs an area of sun and well-drained rich soil. It grows about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide at maturity and is very attractive year round.

Forsythia known as Yellow Bells is a standard in the Winter landscape. These are best left lightly pruned (immediately after flowering) so that it has that large weepy shape. The cultivars have more flowers and some have an intense color of yellow or gold. Every landscape should have at least one Forsythia.

I hope you have put some of these plants on your list - I have. For those of you who have filled your yards and drives with despicable Bradford Pears, close your windows or you will think you have adopted an untrained puppy in your house or car. They are not fragrant!!