Happy New Year!

How amazing it is to be enjoying the blooms of February and March so early!   It sounds rather churlish to complain, but I feel rather cheated of the anticipation which is part of the fun of winter flowers. My father was even worse than me, he used to walk round the garden every day, gleefully watching the progress of the plump noses of his daffodils and tulip bulbs. Once they came out, he lost interest in them. I’m not as bad as that, but one of the January pleasures is usually watching and waiting for the exciting day when the first hellebores unfurl and the daffodils get nice fat buds.  This year, they did it in a rush, behind my back, whilst I was busy with Christmas. That’s cheating.

There are hosts of hellebores, I haven’t even got round to cutting all their leaves off yet.
As usual, it is the pale ones that are out, the darker colours are always later.


Snowdrops are opening up early, but Galanthus elwesii ‘Mrs Macnamara’ is always a nice reliable one that opens in the new year.
DSC_1089
Cyclamen coum has been in bloom for ages and the pheasant has pulled quite a few of the flowers off. He missed this clump.
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The little buttons of winter aconites, Eranthis hyemalis popped up whilst I wasn’t watching and now they are spreading out in a sea of yellow. They obligingly seed themselves about into ever growing pools under the Acer drummondii.
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I have one called ‘Orange Glow’ which is a richer colour, I hope it will spread just as well.

Eranthis hyemalis 'Orange Glow'

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Orange Glow’

There are plenty of primroses out, I love this lilac coloured double one.
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 The rare and beautiful little Narcissus minor ‘Cedric Morris’ is still blooming away and has been out for several weeks now. Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ is also in bloom but I forgot to photograph  it. This one is always in bloom very early.

Narcissus minor 'Cedric Morris'

Narcissus minor ‘Cedric Morris’

Winter is the time to enjoy fragrant shrubs and they are all pumping out their perfume much earlier than usual. My favourite is the peerless Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. If I could only have one shrub in the garden, this would be the one. I have it by the front door and it stops people in their tracks, with it’s amazing perfume. It is sweet, fruity and absolutely delicious.

Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ smells just as delicious but it is not nearly as floriferous and it does not grow as tall. Pretty as it is, it just can’t compete with Jacqueline.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

I adore the scent of Chimonanthus and I have three of them. I admit it is rather boring for most of the year, but the flowers smell gorgeous; sweet and spicy. I have read that some people think the flowers are drab, but I don’t agree. They are shiny yellow claws with a maroon centre. Quite adorable.

Chimonathus praecox

Chimonathus praecox

I have read blogs where people said they bought Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ or ‘Winter Sun’ for their perfume and then they were disappointed that it is so faint. These two have finished flowering now, but the amazingly sweet Mahonia japonica is in bloom. It is the one to get for scent, it smells strongly of Lily of the valley.

Mahonia japonica

Mahonia japonica

Winter flowering honeysuckle has been flowering for ages. It is wonderful. I grow Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ because it is always covered in deliciously scented flowers and it is more compact than the straggly Lonicera fragrantissima.

Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'

Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’

I have another delightful winter flowering honeysuckle which is quite rare but worth looking out for. It has tubular shaped fragrant flowers of the palest pink.  If you look at them closely you can see that they are hairy. It is called Lonicera elisae.

Lonicera elisae

Lonicera elisae

Witch hazels are one of the joys of winter. Some of mine are already in bloom, others are still to come.


I have mentioned my Coronilla valentina glauca before. It blooms on and on and is very sweetly scented. I grow it in a pot so that I can whip it into the greenhouse if the winter gets too harsh.

Coronilla valentina glauca

Coronilla valentina glauca

I love skimmias and have quite a few different ones.  Soon those little buds will open into clusters of fragrant flowers.This is a new one that  has the most amazing berries of all of them. It is called Skimmia japonica ‘Temptation’. It’s well named.  I bought it for my son and then felt I really needed one myself. Just look at those berries.

Skimmia japonica 'Temptation'

Skimmia japonica ‘Temptation’

Several years ago we had a really severe frost and my Garrya elliptica looked quite dead. I chopped it down quite a long way to get rid of all the unsightly dead branches amd now it is looking good again. This one with really long tassels is Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

Garrya elliptica 'James Roof'

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

The dainty flowers of Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis rosea’ are usually in bloom at this time of the year as long as there are no hard frosts. The flowers are incredibly long lasting.

Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis rosea'

Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis rosea’

My favourite winter flowering Prunus is the Japanese Apricot, Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’. The flowers are dark pink and almond scented. It is a glorious little tree which usually blooms in late February. Not this year though. The name is Japanese for ‘Flight of the Red Plovers’. This tree needs a sheltered position. In the past I have found it suffered from sudden death rather like Daphnes do. This one is 4 years old and doing very well.DSC_0059

Prunus mume 'Beni-chi--dori

Prunus mume ‘Beni-chi–dori

The tall Summer Snowflake; Leucojum aestivum is in full bloom, but I remember it bloomed early last year too.

Leucojum aestivum

Leucojum aestivum

All these plants are early this year, but I have two really crazily confused June-blooming plants which are flowering away. One is the lovely silver leaved Convolvulus cneorum.

Convolvulus cneorum

Convolvulus cneorum

The other is the lovely June- flowering shrub with pure white flowers; Exochorda x macrantha ‘The bride’

Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride'

Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’

What a crazy season. I hope you are enjoying your confused blooms too.  My thoughts are very much with those of you in the north of England who are suffering from these terrifying floods.

A very Happy New Year to everyone, I am looking forward to catching up with all of you and to following your garden adventures this coming year. xxx

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72 Responses to Happy New Year!

  1. alison says:

    Seeing the profusion of lovely shrubs blooming in your garden makes me realise the lack of them in my own – so I will be going through your photos again, slowly, to write down some of the names! I think Daphne ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is a must if nothing else.
    A Happy New Year of gardening.

  2. Liz, welcome back to blogland, I have missed your posts. Your garden is looking great as usual and I am seeing several plants I am not familiar with – I always loved the scent of L. fragrantissima, but didn’t like the plant either.Those Skimmia berries are outstanding! I could never grow those! Grr.
    I wish you cool, but not freezing weather. Happy New Year, Amy

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Amy, you say the nicest things. I have been busy with other things this last week or two but I am looking forward to catching up with blogging now.

  3. rusty duck says:

    I can’t quite believe those last two.. amazing! Fabulous show Chloris.
    Happy New Year!

  4. Meriel Murdock, Co. Wicklow, Ireland says:

    Wonderful plants, photos and info as always. Thank you for all your blogs in 2015 and look forward to 2016. Happy gardening New Year.

  5. pbmgarden says:

    I agree there is something wonderful about watching and anticipating the blooms. You have so many delights in your winter garden. Hope 2016 will be a good gardening year for you!

  6. Happy new year to you and thank’s for sharing this great beauty !

  7. Julie says:

    Happy New Year! You have some wonderful winter flowering plants, heres to a lovely 2016 gardening year!

  8. what a treasure trove of beautiful blooms and wonderful aromas, wishing you a happy new year too, Frances

  9. What a magnificent haul! I can’t quite match the diversity of your blooms, but am still enjoying nerines and fuchsias down in Broadstairs. Like you, I didn’t get to the hellebores to trim off the old leaves before the new flowers appeared. I am just waiting for that ‘Britain Freezes’ headline to appear in the papers and for this weird weather to end. Wishing you a very happy 2016!

    • Chloris says:

      My nerines are long gone, but nothing surprises me this crazy season. I hope we don’ t get a big freeze now, it would be awful to see all these early blooms zapped.
      Happy New Year to you Dan.

      • I think the big freeze is on its way! I’m going to be fleecing a few things up this weekend to be on the safe side 🙂

        I have several seeds appearing on my nerines. Do you think it is worth collecting and sowing them? I want to have more so this might be an inexpensive but long-winded way of multiplying them?

      • Chloris says:

        You generally get a good germination rate from nerine seeds but they take about 4 years to flower. It’ s quicker growing on the little bulbs that appear round the main bulbs.

      • I might experiment, just for the sake of it! I want to get some different cultivars in the spring as they seem to like the area they are growing in.

  10. Flighty says:

    Given the time of year this is a particularly enjoyable post with lovely photos.
    I wonder what the weather is going to be like over the coming months and just hope that it’s not extreme or unseasonable.
    Thanks, and to you too. xx

  11. You’ve got so many beauties in flower and I can imagine weaving aconite ‘Orange Glow’ through the normal yellow to great effect. Happy New Year to you too.

  12. Sam says:

    You have so many of my favourite winter-flowering plants! D.bholua ‘JP’ is my absolute favourite, though – we had one just outside our back door in our old house and each year I looked forward to one of those still winter days when its glorious scent seemed like a gift from paradise. So lovely to see your gorgeous blooms. Thank you Chloris, and a Happy New Year to you. X

    • Chloris says:

      Jacqueline really does have the most exquisite fragrance doesn’ t she? It is a pity that these wonderful Daphnes are difficult to propagate and so expensive to buy.

  13. Cathy says:

    Happy New Year Chloris! It looks like spring is well on the way in your garden. Lovely!

  14. homeslip says:

    Just wonderful. So many plants that I would love to grow, especially the Winter sweet and witch hazel. I just love this time of year in the garden – so much hope and expectation. Happy new year Chloris, I’ve learnt so much from your blog in 2015.

  15. Kris P says:

    Even I’m amazed by all your early flowers. I love, Love, LOVE the Coronilla but it doesn’t appear to be available here. I found one source that referred to it as “bastard Senna” – although the name isn’t nice, if that signifies that it grows under conditions similar to Senna, then it should grow here. I was also delighted to see your Garrya elliptica in bloom as I just planted my own “James Roof” this fall. Mine is only a few inches tall and hence a long time from blooming but I’m hopeful it will stand our summers and that I might enjoy at least a few blooms next year.

    Best wishes for a wonderful 2016, Chloris!

    • Chloris says:

      Coronilla is a Mediterranean plant so it should do well with you if you can find one. Mine is the variety ‘ Citrina’ with lemon coloured flowers. It is lovely and blooms for weeks on end.
      The very best to you too Kris for a wonderful 2016

  16. So many beautiful blooms for New Year. Strange, but you may as well enjoy them. Have a happy New Year!

  17. Anna says:

    A most happy new year to you Chloris! It’s somewhat disconcerting to see so many flowers/plants either ahead of or behind themselves. I like your cheating comparison. At this rate the gardening books will need to be either rewritten or seriously revised.

  18. snowbird says:

    It certainly is strange. The bride is flowering in my garden too, along with one of the cherry trees….
    Daughter bought me one of the witch-hazel’s you posted here, the third one, a Chinese one, I must go and dig the label out!
    I do love your lilac Primrose, how charming and the Lonicera elisae is so unusual, the hairiness really appeals to me. I am writing a note to self….buy Jacqueline Postill! All the very best to you and yours, have a splendid 2016.xxx

    • Chloris says:

      You have a witch hazel? Wonderful, every girl needs at least one. Is it blooming? Do show us.
      Jacqueline Postill is very expensive but well worth it. She is not always easy to find, I hope you manage to track one down.

  19. bittster says:

    Astounding! I could barely keep up as you went from one wonderful surprise to the next. I was first wowed by the winter aconite, but then everything else on top of that!
    Happy New Year to you as well. It’s going to be a good one 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      I am sure it will be a good one, if you are a gardener there is always something to look forward to. I hope you are not frozen solid or snowed under yet. Happy New Year Frank.

  20. Cathy says:

    Mmmm…. it must take you ages to ramble round your garden when you have all these treasures to admire, Chloris. I know what you mean about the ‘cheating’ – just appearing like that when you briefly glance away is just not on, is it? Katherine Hodgkin was like that, the cheeky girl! Interesting observation about dark/light hellebores – I hadn’t thought about it but realise that probably is the case. You have some lovely dark pink ones, more striking than the paler pink ones. Oh, and you have some lovely witch hazels too!!

  21. Brian Skeys says:

    Wonderful amount of bloom Chloris, I know it is a mild winter but wouldn’t it be lovely to have some Spring sunshine to enjoy the blooms!
    Happy New Year.

  22. Lovely as always, especially the hellebores! We have confused exochorda here too, I am hoping they don’t wear themselves out. Happy New Year to you too my deario! x

  23. Happy new year to you Chloris. What a stunning collection of winter and spring flowers adorn your garden. What a clever plant lady to have chosen so many stunning blooms. Gorgeous and inspirational.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Dorris, what a lovely thing to say. I do try to have as many plants as possible for winter interest. It goes on so long. The great thing is that so many winter bloomers are fragrant.

  24. You have so much blooming!! We had a few confused perennials stick out a few blooms due to the abnormally warm temps but nothing compared to yours. I’d love to be able to sniff my through your wonderful garden. 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      The scent in the winter garden is the most exciting of all the year. I suppose the flowers have to smell good to try to attract any bees that may still be about.

  25. Wow, Chloris! How amazing that this is happening now. Especially amazing to me since we are now in a deep-freeze here at the moment. I always told my family to enjoy the mild weather in December because when winter hits, it usually hits us hard. But I am cheered by your pretty flowers out of season. Hope the good weather continues there. Happy new year to you and yours.

    • Chloris says:

      It is very mild and wet at the moment but we are told that the weather will turn cold next week. The frost usually comes and catches me unawares so I have to go out at night and put tablecloths over my treasures.
      Happy New Year Cynthia.

  26. AnnetteM says:

    Happy new year to you too Chloris. You have an amazing variety of winter blooms. Spring was early for us in Aberdeen two years ago and later last year. I am getting home from a long trip shortly and can’t wait to see what is poking through the soil. I hope I haven’t missed too much.

    • Chloris says:

      How lovely to go away at this time of the year and miss all this endless rain. It is wonderful to have so much in bloom but we are all developing webbed feet or fins.

  27. Happy New Year Chloris…so many blooms already. I had a few but winter has returned and the garden is finally sleeping and frozen.

  28. We too have lots of early Hellebores surprising us in our garden here in Birmingham. Glad to see some Witch Hazels are out, they are much underrated in my opinion. ‘Dianne’ and ‘Jalena’ are particular favourites.

  29. Sue C. says:

    You have an amazing range of plants and shrubs in flower – they certainly brighten up a dull, wet January. You have obviously worked on winter colour and fragrance. An inspiration.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Sue. I do try to have plenty of plants that look and smell good in winter. It goes on for so long, it is important to keep the interest going

  30. Angie says:

    We can always guarantee some special blooms in your garden Chloris and as usual you do not disappoint.
    A Happy New Year to you and yours – All the best!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Angie, you always have something special in your garden too. I have noticed how particular you are about choosing excellent plants and ones which will look beautiful in your garden.

  31. You have the most extraordinary number of flowers and shrubs in bloom! I am amazed. You must have had a lot more warmth further south than we have, even though I feel we have had a very mild and wet December. I do agree about the anticipation. I love waiting for my snowdrops and my daffodils. I am not sure I want them to rush out too early!

  32. wellywoman says:

    I’m very envious of all those flowers. Although it’s been mild here it’s also been very wet and grey so I think that’s why we don’t have much in flower. Part of me is hoping everything will stay true to the seasons. Partly because I have bulbs I’m growing for work which need to slow down and partly because I don’t want March to be bare because everything flowered earlier. 🙂 So far it just feels like we’ve had a very protracted autumn. Let’s hope the weather improves and it’s a good growing year. Happy New Year. 🙂

  33. Chloris says:

    It s turning cold now which is probably a good thing. Like you I worry about what we will have in bloom in March if everything has bloomed itself out in January. Happy New Year Louise.

  34. annie_h says:

    You have some many plants blooming in your garden! The Hellebores are just lovely, mine are only just coming into flower now. You have lots of winter scented flowers too, will be lovely waking round your garden at the moment

  35. Annette says:

    So much to admire, Liz. Hope your flowers are still okay as I’ve heard that the UK has been affected by pretty cold weather since. I adore your hellebores. Don’t have that many but a very special black flowered one which produced two flowers this year – one has sadly been munched. Wonder about the Coronilla – how much cold does it support? How old is your garden now? I always envy people a little with mature gardens as I’ve never stayed anywhere long enough to see mine mature.

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