Many people are familiar with the common honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)- a climbing woodland plant with fragrant flowers that scent the evening air in early summer. Did you know that the genus Lonicera also contains what are known as the ‘shrubby honeysuckles’? There are several species of honeysuckle that form mounded shrubs, some are evergreen such as Lonicera nitida (a good alternative to box hedging if box blight has been a problem) and Lonicera pileata – a good ground cover plant. These two are grown more for their foliage and habit than their flowers which are much smaller than the classic climbing honeysuckle and with far less fragrance.
My favorite Lonicera if Lonicera x fragrantissima – as the name suggests it is highly fragrant, this semi-evergreen arching shrub produces pairs of scented flowers along the length of its stems from early January until early May. It is a stunning winter flowering plant that provides vital nectar and pollen for bees that get woken from hibernation on those sunny winter days. The sweet fragrance attracts the bees from a wide area and the flowers provides life saving nutrition for them. It is also a superb cut flower – one twig will fragrance a whole room.
Other winter wonders include the Hellebores, Sarcococca, Cornus and Hamamelis. Our nursery opens again on Saturday 7th March for the 2020 season, we are open every Saturday from 10am-4pm until end October. Come along and enjoy a walk through our ‘winter border’ which is packed with ideas to add interest to the garden in the winter months. We have just a few Lonicera x fragrantissima left on the nursery, plenty of Hellebores, Cornus, Sarcococca, and lots of other winter/spring plants.