Scent during the cold months of winter are welcomed indoors and out. There are some fragrances that we anticipate and others we do not. Scents play such a role in our lives. As a gardener in the off season I seek out seasonal scents whenever I go outside.
Now that the holidays are over, the smell of balsam, fir and pine, still linger lightly in the landscape. In my yard, this fragrance comes from recycling wreaths with home-made edible ornaments for the birds.
As I wander down by the woods line, I lift my nose there is a faint sweet smelling scent. A scent that in some circles is known as “Sweet Breath of Spring” or “Kiss Me At The Gate”. In other circles it is known as January Jasmine or Chinese Honeysuckle. When I lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia, we called it “Winter Honeysuckle”.
Botanically speaking, it is “Lonicera fragrantissima”. A honeysuckle with the sweetest scent in the middle of winter. This shrub has an expected height and girth of 6 – 10 feet. Great for those who have space, as every branch that touches the ground takes root. If you are considering a shrub that will create a thicket if left alone, the added value of this shrub is the scent.
This scent would waft through the air as I walked past the downtown train station in Fredericksburg. In a neglected corner, this shrub did not look like much. We often forgot to water it, yet the sweet scent it shared was one of forgiveness. We could see passersby looking around in wonderment as they tried to figure out where the scent was coming from.
Left on it’s own devices, Winter Honeysuckle can become gangly in appearance. Full or part sun, it will only require moderate water to survive. A decent pruning after bloom will keep this shrub happy and healthy as it flourishes in the landscape.
The delicate bulb like buds are held tight on each limb. Covered in a sheath of soft pink, a gentle squeeze of these buds, tickle your sense of smell. Perfect for cutting and placing in your vase of choice, Winter Honeysuckle branches add a sweet scent to the air. Although some consider this a thug shrub, placed properly it has value in the landscape.
When there is nothing else in bloom, try Winter Honeysuckle. Whether it is in the ground or in a vase, it is sure to brighten up any gray winter day!!
I hope you add a bit of fragrance to your world as we continue nesting til Spring!
Teri, Cottage In The Court
To find out more about this fragrant shrub, click here.by