GBBD: Winter Beauty

This is the time of year when my winter honeysuckle (Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty') comes into its own. Each flower is tiny but so prolific they make quite a show against the back garden fence. As the border is quite narrow at this point, I've trained it against the fence using my Rosa 'Rambling Rector' as a support. As both of these plants are quite thuggish and I have a lot of fence to cover, it means they're good companions: providing interest from June through to March/April.

At any other time of the year, these flowers would be unremarkable, but my Muse Day quote still holds true and their presence on bare stems - plus their beautiful scent - makes them most welcome in February. I believe this year is the best yet in terms of their profusion.

It's the time of year when the wind still has a wintry breath, but on days such as yesterday the sun's warmth can be felt on one's back. Everywhere is waking up around the garden and there's carpets of snowdrops, crocuses, cyclamen, violas, primulas and winter aconites plus Clematis and Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' to be enjoyed in the sunshine.

Some of the berberis are bursting into leaf already and the birds have started their nest building. Spring's promise is on its way :)

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. So beautiful. I'm useless at training honeysuckle to behave itself, it always ends up in an unsightly overhang at the top of the fence. In fact, I think training climbers is my major gardening weak spot, and one I should really get to grips with. I always mean to keep them in check, but then I suddenly turn round and there they are again, looking unkempt. A bit like me really!

  2. Honeysuckle is spring here, but we have a while to wait. Nice to see your blooms. Have a lovely GBBD.

  3. Absolutely one of my faves but sadly my own garden far too small, always appreciate the scent when I come across one however.

  4. I love your Muse Day quote, VP! It is so true--anything flowering this time of year is so much appreciated. I've always loved the scent of honeysuckle; your garden must smell like spring, too.

  5. honeysuckle is such a sweet promising scent. our promise of spring lasted one day. sunny & upper 40sF yesterday & windy, bright, & low 20s'F today.

  6. It's a lovely plant. I grow mine as a free-standing shrub, in the woody part of the garden. The fragrance hits me when I go into that area, especially on a still afternoon.

    Emma - you can grow this shrub as a pollard, cutting back to a stump every spring. The wands which shoot up flower faithfully, the following winter and it doesn't get too big that way.

  7. Oh how I desperately want some Honeysuckle! I think that just might be my one purchase this year. I have an arbor that needs a strong sun loving climber and all my efforts so far, with Clematis and Roses have failed.
    I enjoyed reading your post, you have a way with words. Glad I found your blog and look forward to watching your garden grow through the seasons.
    Happy GBBD!

  8. Nice honeysuckle, VP. Your carpets sound wonderful, we are waiting on ours being delivered! Happy GBBD :-)

  9. Its always so nice when the plants start waking from their winter slumber, especially when they produce some colorful blossoms.

  10. Plantaliscious - I had a summer honeysuckle just like yours. I seem to have coped better with the winter variety :)

    GWGT - it's the time of year when we're ahead of many of you across the pond. You'll soon catch up.

    Emma - so glad Plant Mad Nige has come up with a suggestion for you :)

    Rose - I hadn't thought of it that way, but yes I do have a nicely scented garden at the moment :)

    Petoskystone - we're due to get colder by the end of the week, so winter and spring are still fighting each other

    Nige - you always come in and add so much more to my posts. Thank you!

    Jennifer - welcome and thanks for your tweet earlier too! A honeysuckle scented arbour would be lovely.

    Shirl - I'll send the delivery lorry up your way ;)

    RBell - hello! Looking at the garden again this morning, soon we'll have the daffodils :)

  11. Oh, to be in England now that February is here! Fortunately I think I have the scent of snow melting in our air today.

  12. This has been on my wish list for a while - must track one down :)

  13. Fab plant!
    The scent is so clean and fresh. And you have developed a good system for growing a plant whose growth habit is not its best feature!
    These winter flowering shrubs are hard to beat for the reward they give us just when we need it. If we have the space I think that amply repays the boredom value of some of them for the rest of the year!
    Best Wishes

  14. The description thuggish seems so wrong for something with such lovely little flowers.

  15. Commonweeder - parts of England have snow forecast for today! Hope your snowmelt has continued...

    Anna - I can't remember where I got mine from, but they're usually pretty available

    Robert - thanks! Its companions ensure there's interest there for most of the year. I forgot to mention there's also Clematis 'Kermesina' threaded through the rose, which takes care of post rose flowering interest until its prolific tiny red hips appear in the autumn.

    Mac - it'll sprawl absolutely everywhere unless it's tamed! It's quite a boring plant in the summer, so it really needs the treatment I give it (or that sugggested by Plant Mad Nige) to make sure it's appreciated at its best

  16. I too have a winter honeysuckle, and funnily enough I was looking at it today thinking 'it has never flowered so much before' - it is really spectacular this year, which is not a word I would have used in previous years. I have hacked it a fair bit and it's been fine, but it's reassuring to know I could really knock it back in a month or so. Thanks PMN.

  17. Lu - I love it when people get something from another's comments. PMN always gives good value on that score :)


Your essential reads

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: 'Just Add Cream'

Salad Days: Mastering Lettuce

Wildflower Wednesday: Alpengarten

Jack Go To Bed At Noon

Dessert Apple Jelly: Seasonal Recipe

VP's VIPs: Charles Dowding

Weekend Wandering: A new sculpture trail

Wildflower Wednesday: A New Year Plant Hunt

Pelargonium preparation

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day: The Best of Summer