Many gardeners are wondering what to plant in their winter flower beds and landscapes. There are many different types of plants that include both winter flowering plants, as well as winter shrubs and small trees. Some of these may or may not be suitable for all yard and gardens, as climates can vary a great deal from place to place.
The following plants can be grown outdoors without protection and are excellent for cutting:
Garrya elliptica: an evergreen shrub that has long, gray green catkins, of which the male form is the most effective. It will flower extra early if trained against a sunny wall, but will make a bush in the open. It is suitable for U.S. Zone 8. It is also known by several names: coast silk-tassel, silsk tassel bush, and wavyleaf silktassel. They are native to the coastal ranges of California and Oregon, but will grown in warm temperate regions of North America. There are 20 known species in the family Garryaceae, most being Garrya.
Hamamelis mollis: the witch hazel plant has fragrant yellow flowers. A variety named pallida is sulphur yellow. This plant is native to central and eastern China. It is grown as an ornamental plant, and for its strongly scented flowers. Very pretty indeed!
Helleborus niger: is the ever popular Christmas Rose. It will grow in sun or shade, and if you have them under frame lights, the white flowers will be cleaner and appear earlier than normal. You may also find this readily at home and garden stores that can be kept indoors to enjoy.
*The Legend of the Christmas Rose*
According to the legend, a young shepherdess named Madelon was tending her sheep on a cold wintry night. A group of wise men and others passed by her, all bearing gifts for the newly born Jesus. She began to cry as she didn’t have anything to give as a gift to the Newborn King. An angel suddenly appeared to her and brushed away the new fallen snow, revealing a beautiful white flower tipped with the most beautiful pink color. This is what we now known as- the Christmas Rose.
Iris stylosa (Unguiculares Beardless Iris): is also known as the Algerian Iris. It is a native of Algerian and Greece. It grows best in fairly poor soil in a warm, rather dry place, such as near the foot of a south-facing wall, and should be left undisturbed. They should be cut when they are in bud. It blooms from October to March.
Mahonia japonica(Bealei Mahonia): is a nice looking evergreen shrub with sprays of pale yellow flowers scented like lily of the valley. They appear from February to April.It is often grown as an ornamental shrub or as a ground cover shrub. The foliage is a glossy dark green with black or dark colored fruit that develops in spring and summer.
Viburnum fragrans: have small clusters of white and pink flowers, and are very fragrant. This variety is either a deciduous plant, losing leaves in Autumn or Fall, or it is an evergreen, but only in warmer climates where it maintains its leaves year round. V. Bodnantense is similar but is a deeper pink with a more angular branching habit. This winter flowering Viburnam is best planted in front of evergreen shrubs so that the flowers stand out against a green backdrop. They are fragrant and do well along paths. They can grow up to 10’ tall. They feature red buds that open to a beautiful, fragrant pink. It blooms in the dead of winter and holds up well during frosts.