Plants flowering in winter thanks to the weird weather

Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog
The strange weather this year has continued right to the end. In 2018 winter snow came in March, the summer was the driest in 40 years, followed by a mild autumn which has lasted past Christmas. Only a few light frosts here in Cardiff so far mean that all sorts of things are still flowering in my garden - why don't you take a look...

I'm not a gardener who puts the garden to bed for winter and stays inside until the leaves are back on the trees. I've always tried to include as many plants as possible that keep the garden worth spending time in all year round, whether for structure, foliage or flowers.

I do bring tender plants indoors to make sure they survive, but this year more than ever before, the increasingly untraditional weather patterns have enabled more hardy outdoor plants than previously to maintain their flowers right through Christmas and beyond. Despite the decreased daylight hours, lots of things are taking advantage of the mild temperatures.

Some of the plants mentioned below are intended to be enjoyed at this time of year, some have simply flowered a bit longer than usual. But a couple have amazed me by hanging around when they would normally be long gone by now, and yet have been a pleasure to see and smell this Christmas, against all expectations. 

Here's a selection of things flowering in my garden right at the end of 2018:

Plants flowering in my garden on New Year's Day

Winter flowering plants

These I would expect to flower during winter, and I've purposely planted them close to walkways and doors, or where they can be seen from the windows, to maximise the enjoyment from them even when I can't quite be tempted to go outside.

See also: 5 scented shrubs to make your winter garden smell amazing

Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is a semi evergreen shrub that can be trained up a wall, trellis or pergola. It produces small flowers in winter but with a spectacular fragrance that is a delight to walk past on those dark gloomy days. It's a real pick me up that blows me away every time.

Winter honeysuckle Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog
Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)

There are many varieties of Mahonia. They are woodland plants which do well in a bit of shade under a larger tree. I have Mahonia x media "Winter Sun" which I've pruned to keep the flowers at a height where I can sniff them because they also have a lovely fragrance. Beware of the spiky leaves though!

Mahonia Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog
Mahonia x media "Winter sun"

Winter jasmine (Jasmine nudiflorum) trails nicely over a wall and flowers on bare stems in the colder months. The bright yellow blooms sparkle from the gloom of a grey day. This years milder weather seems to have encouraged more flowers than usual on mine.

Winter jasmine Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog
Jasmine nudiflorum - winter jasmine

Still going strong - or starting early?

There seems to be a Viburnum for every season, including some fragrant winter flowering ones. My Viburnum bodnantense "Dawn" is still flowering well outside the front door, greeting our festive visitors with a sweet blast of scent as they approach. This though is Viburnum macrophyllum "Autumn Magic" which as the name suggests should have finished flowering by now but thanks to the lack of frosts so far, is persevering right through to the New Year.

Viburnum Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog
Viburnum macrophyllum "Autumn Magic"

This Calendula is also enjoying the extended autumn and carrying on flowering when normally by now it would have given up and disappeared.

Calendula Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog

Also still flowering is a tall floribunda rose that just goes on and on, but there are others that don't normally bloom until spring but have been tricked into turning up early this year by the mildness of conditions during the shortest days.

Aubretia stays evergreen but normally doesn't flower until spring. It isn't carpeting the wall in purple the way it does then, but is nonetheless a lovely and surprising addition to the garden this Christmas.

Aubretia Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog
Rosemary is flowering too, but more impressive are the bright pink flowers of these potted bergenias which usually arrive in early spring.

Bergenia Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog

The surprises

While those flowers that have arrived early or have stayed late are slightly surprising, the last two are a complete shock! 

I am amazed that this Ceanothus is flowering this late. Other ceanothus' drop their leaves and are twigs until March. "Lemon & Lime" stays evergreen but never normally flowers until May. There are only a few flowers, but I've never seen them in December before.

Ceanothus Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog
Ceanothus "Lemon & Lime"

One of my favourite plants in the garden is Zaluzianskya, the night scented phlox. I grow it from seed every year, and in summer it produces flowers with an incredible sherbet like scent. The plants sometimes survive the winter and re-grow the following year but they usually die down in autumn and  to be able to smell them at New Year is a real bonus. 

Night scented phlox Plants flowering in winter weird weather Green Fingered Blog
Night scented phlox (Zaluzianskya)
Do you have any seasonal surprises flowering in your garden? Do share them on my Facebook page, or using Twitter or Instagram. All my feeds have regular updates from my garden and allotment, so please follow me all year round for more pics, tips and thoughts on gardening and growing your own.

Happy New Year,

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