Honeysuckle - Lonicera Fragrantissima
For me, some of the most exquisite winter flowering shrubs are the shrubby winter honeysuckles. Lonicera fragrantissima which was brought to these shores by Robert Fortune the Scottish plant hunter from China in 1845 , Lonicera Standishii, or the cross between these two Lonicera X purpussii named after two German plant collecting brothers. Fantastically fragrant, these like so many of the winter flowering shrubs have got into their stride earlier than normal. The white flowering fragrantissima at home in my own garden have been blooming for a month now. Heavenly lemony scent wafts through the air, whenever I get anywhere near them. Delicious is the best description for their perfume.They have beautiful golden yellow stamens which contast superbly with the white petals. I have three in my rather large garden, two alongside the driveway and one by a pathway. A pink Standishii is also pictured, a recent cultivar named "Budapest". Flowering goes on for a good 3-4 months. These largely deciduous shrubs are pretty uninteresting from spring until late autumn. Fragrantissima can get quite congested with its older growth, so any pruning is best done straight after flowering. Mainly thinning out any heavily congested parts that are bunched or crossing and rubbing. But don't go mad, some of the finest free flowering specimens are the most neglected! The usual good handful of growmore around the roots and a mulch after pruning is a good idea.With a twiggy habit they lend themselves to having a later summer flowering clematis viticella growing up through them. Growing to about 2 metres in height with a max spread of 2.5 metres these will grow in virtually any soil providing its well prepared state with plenty of organic material. A sunny, sheltered spot is ideal. A must have plant in my view for any garden, I really enjoy mine as I grew them all myself from hardwood cuttings!!