CAPRIFOLIACEAE, The Honeysuckle family
Also called Sweet Breath of Spring
Did you know a lot of shrubs bloom in winter in temperate climates? I did not. I often passed by the ‘winter garden’ at Kew, but since it was summer then, things were rather green and plain. I imagined that in winter there would be interesting berries or textures or something. But there is probably much more, for some plants have evolved to take advantage of the pollinators that chance to be on wing in perilous temperatures, or those that are active on the stray warm day. When you’re one of the only flowers around, your chances of being pollinated are good. Just in case, lure in those roving bugs with a far-reaching scent. Winter blooming shrubs are perfumey.
Yuko and I were walking through a SE neighborhood when we spotted this white blooming shrub. The rare day of sun had brought out its sweet fragrance and a few tiny bees. She told me what is it and how she uses it in garden designs because of it’s bloom time of course, but because its shrubby habit is easier to maintain than the vining honeysuckles that become tangled if not pruned regularly. Of course since there is no snow here, the delicate flowers look sparkly against the mud and moss. The flowers are followed by small red berries that are usually hidden by the emerging leaves, which are nice too, dark bluish-green, oval with a point.
Native to China, this shrub is hardy in zones 4 to 8. It likes well-drained soil in sun to part shade. Prune after flowering. Suitable for indoor forcing for flower arrangements.