It’s January, and a…

It's January, and a gardener's fancy lightly turns to trees that are probably too big for her house, but which would, in future years, provide lovely pink-red flowers in late winter. What do you think of these? (The first is actually a low-lying shrub, and will almost certainly fit somewhere. The rest, I'm not so sure of. My yard is not big.)

a) Winter heath (December Red?) -- sprawling little shrub, white-to-red flowers in winter and early spring

b) Bodnant viburnum (Dawn?) -- up to 10 ft. tall, but apparently the flowers will wither in extreme cold. Cool first image below courtesy Michaela Medina @ The Gardener's Eden, reprinted by permission.

c) Witch hazel (Diane?) -- red-flowering, up to 20 ft tall; recommended against a background of evergreens

d) Persian ironwood -- shrub / small tree, reaching 40 ft, but can be grown as a large multi-stemmed bush; needs full sun -- four-season interest!

I'm wondering if there are good spots for any of these in my front yard. Would be lovely to have some winter / early spring color and fragrance. Maybe on the north, to replace that row of tall screening shrubs we'd planned, which now seem a little forbidding and boring? I'd rather give my neighbors flowers to look at.

We took out the flowering shrubs that were there, because the parkway trees cast too much shade, and so they only flowered way up high, where you couldn't see / smell them. But I don't think that would be a problem for winter-flowering shrubs, which should get tons of sun. I don't want to just do a wall of shrubs, though. Hmm...

3 thoughts on “It’s January, and a…”

  1. Presumably you checked all these work in Chicago? I’m surprised by several of them, to be honest.

    One thing to be wary of is that while all of these may flower in winter/early spring, they will grow (and possibly create buds) during the summer, so if they need sun, they’ll need sun in the summer as well. I can personally vouch for the viburnun dawn which is indeed very lovely and the flowers are wonderfully fragrant too. We have 2 now and also had them in England. If grown in full sun, they are a lovely bush. If grown in more shaded locations (shaded in summer, not winter) they grow exceeding slowly, tend towards scraggly and make relatively few flowers. Or at least that is our experience.

    Heather looks … well, yucky …. when it isn’t blooming in my opinion, so mixing it with other stuff is essential.

    It’s a pity Chicago is too cold for winter daphne. It’s the stuff of dreams.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    They’re all zone 4-5-safe, supposedly. I sent an e-mail to my landscaper, asking her opinion, we’ll see what she says.

    Good point about the sun issue. Hm. I guess if we buy any of those, we should buy fairly large versions, and expect them to be slow-growing.

    And yes, was definitely planning to mix the heather in with other things! 🙂

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