Winter Flowering Plants - January
January in the UK often means grey cloudy skies, rain and cold. People tend not to venture out into their gardens, not just because of the weather but because there is little to delight the eye.
Lawns, concrete, gravel or borders with some winter flowering bedding blands can often leave your garden looking bland and uninteresting. In winter as most plants are deciduous there are few plants in leaf leaving little or no greenery.
Most people consider gardens places you only spend time in during the summer but it needn't be like this. There are plenty of evergreen plants with coloured foliage and flowering shrubs to fill most gardens.
In January many shrubs are flowering and these tend to be fragrant flowers that will fill the garden when the sun shines.
I took this picture at the start of January. You can see Chinese privet (Ligustrum lucidum tricolor) to the left with the dark green and light green leaves with a variegated cream edge. In spring the new growth is tinged a red pink colour.
Even though Chinese privet does not flower in winter the multi coloured foliage adds colour and brightness to the garden in the winter months. It is also a very hardy small tree that keeps its colourful leaves all year round and can take temperatures as low as -15°C.
To the right of the privet is the variegated leaf Coronilla valentina variegata with the bright yellow winter flowers. Coronilla flowers reliably over winter and has a fantastic and noticeable scent that carries for some distance especially on calm sunny days.
Coronilla Variegated Winter Foliage
As you can see from the close up of the leaves they are blue green in colour with a cream edge. The foliage is quite small but on mass it creates a bright and cheery display. With the addition of the bright yellow flowers you could almost be mistaken for thinking that I took this picture in the middle of summer rather than the depths of winter.
Yellow Winter Flowers
The above image is one I took of a close up of the yellow flower of the variegated form of Coronilla valentina. You can see how bright and distinctive this winter flowering shrub is. It will brighten up the shorter winter months adding much needed colour and scent to a garden in winter.
Pale Yellow Winter Flowering Coronilla
Pictured is the paler yellow winter flower of Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca 'Citrina'. The plain blue green foliage acts as a backdrop to highlight the mass of fragrant pale yellow flowers on this winter flowering plant.
Coronilla really is a reliable flowering plant which has a relatively long flowering period for a shrub.
Often people will think of winter jasmine flowers but the deep yellow scented flowers of Coronilla over the glaucus blue leaves trumps Jasmine. Plus Coronilla is evergreen so it retains its foliage throughout winter and is a great food source for any flying insects this time of year. It has been warm enough this January 2019 for Bees to be out foraging.
Winter Flowering Mahonia
Many of the Mahonia sports flower in winter including the popular Mahonia x media 'Charity' and 'Winter Sun'. There are many other types of Mahonia with far more spectacular foliage but Mahonia x media is renowned for its numerous spikes of flowers.
The flowers rise up above a plate of spiky leaves and they are very prickly. If you are looking for a Mahonia that has less spikes then I can recommend both Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress' and Mahonia eurybracteata. You can read more details about flowering all year round plants and there are many more pictures of Mahonia on that page.