Top Ten January Blooms.

Here we are, the 23rd has come rushing round yet again with unseemly haste and it is time for my monthly Top Ten Bloom update. January has been mild but very wet and all my favourite winter blooms are looking wonderful.

I have to start off with my all time winter favourite, Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. I know I am a Jacqueline bore, but she is stunning and the scent is sweetly delicious and outstanding amongst all the fragrant winter flowers. Mine is in quite an exposed space in full sun in my windy front garden and so it loses all its leaves in winter, but I think the masses of pink starry flowers stand out better on bare branches. It is a tall, upright bush growing to at least  2 metres in height.

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

This is the view looking into it from overhead and if you were standing here I’d have to restrain you from diving nose first into it because it is so intoxicating.

Daphnes are short-lived and can suffer from sudden death and as I couldn’t face January without Jacqueline I have planted another one in a sheltered spot. This one keeps all its leaves in winter but the flowers don’t stand out quite as well. By the way, never move a daphne once it is planted, it will certainly die if you do.

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ in a sheltered spot.

I also have Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ and it is sweetly fragrant too but not nearly as floriferous and it comes into bloom a bit later, you can see in the photograph that it is still in bud. It makes a rounded shrub and doesn’t grow tall. It is all very pretty but once you’ve seen ‘Jacqueline Postill’ no other daphne will do.

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

Snowdrops are popping up all over and I know they are the marmite of the floral world, some people are besotted and others wonder what all the fuss is about and why galanthophiles spend hours with their bottoms in the air counting green spots.  So I will just show a few to try to convince you they are not all the same. Take Galanthus ‘Reverend Hailstone’ for instance. He is a whopper, a robust snowdrop which can grow to 30 cm tall.

Galanthus ‘Reverend Hailstone’

Galanthus ‘Corrin’ has green spots on the outer petals and is a pretty shape.

Galanthus ‘Corrin’

The earliest January snowdrops in my garden are normally the  elwesii hybrids. These are ones with the broad glaucous leaves.

Galanthus elwesii

But this year they are all coming at once. Galanthus ‘Robin Hood’ with the strong green cross on the inner segment is usually a bit later in bloom.

Galanthus ‘Robin Hood’

Galanthus ‘Anglesey Abbey’ has apple green leaves.

Galanthus ‘Anglesey Abbey’

And Galanthus ‘Godfrey Owen’ is certainly different as he has six inner segments and six outer segments giving him a rounded shape. I’ll stop now as I know not everybody shares my enthusiasm for snowdrops but I hope I have shown enough to see that they are not all the same. I’m afraid there will be more in February.

Galanthus ‘Godfrey Owen’

The first of my little irises are out. In the greenhouse I have a yellow one, Iris ‘Katharine’s Gold’. It is a sister of the fabulous Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’

Iris ‘Katharine’s Gold’

Some of the Iris reticulata bulbs break up and disappear after a year or two in the garden but this little clump of Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ is long lasting and blooms early outside. Next month there will be lots more of these little reticulated irises. They are called this because they have net like covering on their corms.

Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’

Clumps of the Algerian Iris unguicularis throw up there delicate flowers throughout the winter. If you pick them in bud they will unfurl in water.

Iris unguicularis

It is always a treat when the first little yellow buttons of the winter aconites open up their buttercup flowers. If they are happy they seed around everywhere. They have put themselves all along this old, brick  path.


Eranthis hyemalis

I like to try to include a clematis for every month of the year and this month I have Clematis cirrhosa ‘Wisley Cream’ It might sound like an unpleasant liver disease but its cream flowers are a wonderful sight on a January day. I thought it had died from drought in the summer because its leaves dried up but it is absolutely fine and looking splendid.

Clematis cirrhosa ‘‘Wisley Cream’

Little Narcissus minor ‘Cedric Morris’ which I showed in December is still in flower and in January it is joined by egg-yellow Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ which people are always amazed to see so early. It is a full size daffodil which always blooms in January or February and unlike Cedric Morris it is readily available and not expensive.

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’

For carpets of winter colour you can’t beat heathers. I know they are unfashionable nowadays and I notice there are none in the winter garden at Anglesey Abbey. I think it is a shame because Erica carnea does not need an acid soil and comes in lovely shades of pink and white. It must not dry out in summer though.  Here is a photo of part of my winter garden taken more than twenty years ago in my previous garden. Sorry about the quality, it is a photo of a slide.

I love the effect and on a sunny day it is alive with bees so I have introduced some to my winter garden here although they don’t do so well as the soil is lighter and dries out quicker in summer. The pale paler one is ‘Erica carnea ‘Darley Dale’ and the darker one is ‘Kramer’s Red’, it’s not really red at all but it makes a nice contrast.

Erica carnea ‘Kramer’s Red’

Erica carnea ‘Darley Dale’

I showed some of my Witch Hazels last month and they are still looking good although the yellow ones haven’t really got going yet so these will extend the season into February.

Hamamelis x intermedia ”Livia’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’


Hamamelis x intermedia ”Vesna’

In the above photo you can see one of the native hellebores,  Helleborus foetidus which seeds all round the garden. If you go a little further down here you will find a part of the garden that you haven’t seen before. It is the pond area and I don’t usually show it because it needs a good tidy up but I am working round here at the moment. The gravel path that goes all round it is clear now and the banks of the path will soon be tidy too. The big tree in the centre is a weeping willow.

Here it is from the other side. The pond is about 4 feet deep at the moment after all the rain we have had.

But I digress. I was talking about hellebores. They are coming into bloom everywhere as I have them all over the garden but they will be at their best in February.

And now I have only one flower to go so I will have to miss out my favourite sarcococcas , and anyway I  have already mentioned them this year. So I will choose the rare and beautiful Lonicera elisae which blooms later than the more common winter flowering honeysuckles. It is an upright shrub and doesn’t sprawl like the other ones. The fragrant flowers hang down and  are slightly furry, pinkish and funnel – shaped.

Lonicera elisae

Lonicera elisae

So there we have my ten. What are you enjoying in the garden this month? Please share your favourite January blooms and link to this post.

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34 Responses to Top Ten January Blooms.

  1. March Picker says:

    Such an amazing and inspiring group of blooms, Chloris. Your Jacqueline Postill looks superb, and I can only imagine the heady fragrance. Daphnes have evaded me, although I’ve had a couple, sporadically successful years with them in the past. We are a good few weeks behind you with the galanthus and hellebores, so I greatly enjoy your photos.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you, I am grateful for every year that I have my lovely daphne as they do suffer from sudden death for no apparent reason. The hellebores and snowdrops are getting going early this year.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Always a pleasure seeing what gorgeous things you have blooming in your garden, Liz. Especially since we’re experiencing bitter cold and covered under a blanket of snow. 😉

  3. I love these winter pics! I don’t have a single thing blooming. My garden is sound asleep.

  4. Heyjude says:

    Your garden is enchanting. Love the Witch Hazels and the Hellebores! Mine are only just starting to show buds.

  5. Tina says:

    Such rich blooms in your January garden. Hellebores–I can only dream of them, or enjoy yours. 🙂

  6. You are certainly having a beautiful January.

  7. snowbird says:

    Oh my, these images have cheered me up no end. How wonderful to have so much in bloom. I love your Daphnes, you inspired me into buying one, the fragrance is lovely, mine is in a pot at the moment. Livia is

  8. Kris P says:

    What a variety of blooms you have! I’m sure I’d be gaga over snow drops if there were a chance in hell I could grow them here. I’ve discovered that I’ve somehow missed the boat on Iris reticulata, however – my local garden guide says I can grow these bulbs so I’ll be hunting down a mail order supplier next year as for some reason I’ve never seen the bulbs for sale in local garden centers. It still confounds me that the hellebores blooms so much later here than in your climate, when the reverse is generally true in the case of plants we both can grow.

    • Chloris says:

      I’m sure you would be a snowdrop nut too Kris. But think of all the money you save, the more unusual ones are ridiculous prices. Iris reticulata have to be bought in the autumn from bulb specialists. It is strange that you hellebores bloom later than ours. They are starting here now and they stay beautiful throughout February and March.

  9. Sheryl says:

    The flowers are beautiful. I continue to be amazed by how many different varieties of plants are blooming in areas that are warmer than here.

  10. chasingbeans says:

    Such an amazing and inspiring group of blooms, Chloris.

  11. bittster says:

    It’s pouring rain outside so these photos are especially welcome this morning!
    Smart of you to have so many winter bloomers. I’m amazed by how many plants will actually think about growing and flowering at this time of year, it’s so easy to get stuck on May as being the start.
    Every now and then I see heather in the garden center. It’s usually the box stores and I’m sure they’re shipped in from far away, but maybe I’ll give one a try. I always thought they wanted good drainage so the possibility of them enjoying my heavy soils is a plus. The summers may be an issue. Here they usually they die back branch by branch and look scruffy, but it’s always fun to give it a go!

    • Chloris says:

      I love plants that are interesting in winter. If you wait for May you have a short gardening season. You don’t wait for May do you, Mr. Snowdrop Man? Erica carnea is very hardy here, I give it a short back and sides when it has finished blooming.

  12. Pingback: Nearlies and Almosts | Rambling in the Garden

  13. Cathy says:

    Such glorious photos Chloris, and I am so pleased to have been able to experience your winter garden for real – nearly a year ago, would you believe?! Your Lonicera elisae is a delight – I couldn’t include my lonicera because they are amongst the nearly and almost, but what I do have are here:

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Cathy, it is hard to believe that it is nearly a year since you came. The winter garden is now quite a bit bigger than when you saw it. My Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ has been blooming for weeks now and is lovely right next to my kitchen door. Which one is yours? Thank you for joining in and sharing your January blooms.

      • Cathy says:

        I have both Winter Beauty and Budapest – before them I had L fragrantissima but took it out as it had grown in an ugly way, having been bought when I was ignorant of what to expect from winter flowering ones. I keep the current two pruned to manageable proportions. Isn’t it a joy to have a large collection of winter bloomers? You must be in heaven with your extended winter garden…

  14. Anna says:

    Oh such treasures in your winter garden Chloris. Thanks for sharing them with us. I can never have my fill of snowdrops so looking forward to seeing your February beauties. Amazed to see that abundance of aconites growing through the old brick path. I have failed with them abysmally so far when I have planted them.

  15. So much beauty! I love your Daphne, it is magnificent – also the ‘Katherine’s Gold’ Iris. I need some Aconites, must find a place for them.

  16. I once had Lonicera fragrantissima in a past garden and although I loved the winter fragrance, it does get sloppy. Lonicera elisae sounds like a marvelous alternative but Google tells me that it only appears to be available in the UK. 😦

  17. tonytomeo says:

    Daphne bholua is one I have not been acquainted with. It looks compelling, but I would be hesitant to try a new daphne. I just wrote about Daphne odora because I am surprised that it is doing so well this year. I do not know why, but they do not like the climate here. I sort of suspect that it is because of minimal humidity. Heathers are uncommon here, probably because it is not colorful enough.

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