Winter Gems in the Garden outside

December stalwart Mahonia ‘Charity’

As promised in an earlier post (see ‘When the Garden comes indoors‘), here are some of my winter treasures, mostly from the garden outside just now. Above is the ever reliable Mahonia ‘Charity’ which flowers its socks off every December.

Despite the cold frosty weather we are having (even here in ‘Sunny Sussex’!), all these beauties in this post cheer us with their amazingly brave displays. How do they manage it? They are some of my winter delights. Few are glamorous ‘show-offs’, but they have hidden charms that need searching out,  ideally by bringing twigs or flowers indoors for a closer look and to  appreciate their scent more fully.

But first, here are two of my favourite indoor winter flowering bulbs.


Narcissus Paper White always ready for Christmas and beyond. A strong scent. The bulbs have to be bought each year.


Veltheimias  (a South African bulb). These lovely blooms reappear from my bulbs each year, without fail, like old friends renewing their acquaintance with me.

Now these others are all from the garden outside:

Photo of 'Winter Sweet'

The delicate scent of Chimonanthus praecox, with some Winter Flowering Honeysuckle. A good pair to scent the room without over-powering you.


Sensation indeed! Very early Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’. In flower from  early  January to end of Feb. without fail. Sometimes out before Christmas. A must for the winter garden.

Early daffodils

Early Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn’. Only a few weeks later than ‘R. Early Sensation’.    (Previous year’s photo, taken in late Feb.)


Amazing Iris unguicularis. How do these beauties survive outside?  Indoors they open up with a display like this.

Early Cyclamen coum seedlings.

Cyclamen coum seedlings, all grown from seed. Ready to be planted out soon. Unlike ‘the gardener’, they are as ‘tough as old boots’!


Don’t forget the grasses. A lovely cheerful colour all through until spring. Especially good when back-lit like this.

What is flowering in your garden, or windowsills,  just now?

Do comment and let us know.What joy these flowers bring us in the otherwise rather quiet garden in winter.

We also have a small Prunus autumnalis tree which flowers on and off in mild spells during the winter. The familiar, but very dependable, winter flowering Jasmine,   ‘Christmas box’ (Sarcococca), and of course the common snowdrops, all play their quiet roles in the winter show.  We also have a’Mimosa’ tree (Acacia dealbata) which looks like flowering for the first time in the next few weeks – quiet exciting after waiting for about 7 years. As you can see, I have deliberately planned to have colour from November till April as much as possible, both inside and out. It makes these cold months so much more bearable, with scarcely ever a dull moment in the garden, whatever the weather.

All of these are heaven-sent gifts to raise our spirits in this season. And then there’s  spring coming just round the corner!


Lesley Dainton has just sent in this photo of her Clematis cirrhosa balerica in full flower since December.Thank you Lesley – see her comment below.

2 thoughts on “Winter Gems in the Garden outside

  1. Love the flowers that defy the winter. My Clematis Cirrhosa Balearica with its speckled blooms started to flower in December. So pretty!


  2. Lesley, many thanks for adding the photo of your lovely Clematis in full flower. With brave plants like this gardens are an all-the-year-round pleasure. I have downloaded the photo at the bottom of this post (above).


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