Southern winters are short, and have plenty of camellias in bloom to delight gardeners all through the season.
Camellias though are not the only shrubs that bloom in the cool months, and many of the older classic shrubs, for various reasons are overlooked.
Although it is not a star of the garden, winter honeysuckle does make a graceful backdrop along a woodland path of the edge of a shrub border. It reaches about ten to twelve feet in height and can congregate to quite a large stand. Like many shrubs, it can be thinned regularly, and even chopped to the ground, when it will still sprout new stems for next year. It will take most sunny conditions, as well as part shade, and survives as far north as zone 4.
For a great midwinter project try picking a few branches, a forced them into bloom like forsythia by bringing them inside and placing into a bucket of tepid water. It will brighten up your winter home, very quickly.
Unfortunately in searching through the internet you will probably not see this version, as it has been totally forgotten in the trade in favor of the pinks. This is rather sad because it makes a wonderful hedge and is covered with white flowers each Easter that last for several weeks.
So here are my two Cinderella shrubs for the winter garden – they are not as flamboyant as their modern sisters, but for good solid shrubs that survive with no care in drought smitten Georgia, they cannot be beaten.
Kate is a gardener, a garden writer and a garden educator living in Atlanta, Georgia. She has written for national magazines and local newspapers, plus hosts a weekly radio show. You can visit here website at www.katecopsey.com, her blog at www.katesgardenjournal.com , or drop her a message at her profile page on theMulch.com.