Botanist Lens: Canary yellow petals of hope
Hope of spring, hope of warmth, the frail little petals of yellow winter sweet and winter Jasmine flowers are all a garden needs as a reminder of spring. One is drenched in deep citrusy sweet fragrance and the other has none, but the bees don't care, they love them both.
Winter sweet, Chimonanthus praecox, has delicate canary yellow, deeply scented, flowers that add much needed warmth to any garden in winter. The fragrance is deeper than a Daphne or a Lilac. They prefer full sun and a moist location.
Here are some interesting facts: “In China Chimonanthus praecox is known as La Mei Hua and has been cultivated for more than 1000 years. In the 17th century it was introduced to Japan, and it is also now known as Japanese allspice, though it has no relation to culinary Jamaican allspice, Pimenta dioica.
Wintersweet arrived in Britain from China in the year 1766. The genus name Chimonanthus is derived from Greek, meaning ‘winter flower,’ and the species name praecox comes from the Latin meaning early (precocious!). The flowers are used in potpourri as well as to scent linen. The essential oils are also used in cosmetics, perfumes and aromatherapy."
Winter Jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, on the other hand, has no fragrance at all. It is an odd duckling in the Jasmine group. Normally Jasmine flowers are known for their deep scent, but winter Jasmine is the only one without any fragrance. However, the pollen are abundant and plentiful enough to make bees happy. The willowing arching habit of the twigs adds drama to its growth. In a rock garden, at an entrance, or next to conifers, Winter Jasmine can make a statement by itself, for it is one of the earliest yellow flower that will bloom during January and February.
Its flowers are usually found on new wood that was produced in previous summers, so use caution while pruning, if at all needed. Here are some neat pictures of how much the bees appreciate these pretty canary yellow blossoms: https://ucanr.edu/blogs/bugsquad/index.cfm?tagname=Jasminum%20nudiflorum
Visit London Town gardens to enjoy these pretty canary yellow blossoms as a reminder of warmth and hope for spring!
-Meenal Harankhedkar, Director of Horticulture