In Flower Now – Winter Jasmine
Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum (as it flowers on leafless stems), is already in flower in many localities. It is so easy to grow that it is often taken for granted. It shouldn’t be, as it is such a useful and reliable garden plant. It flowers over the winter months, grows in most soils, and is tolerant of both sun and shade. It is not a natural climber so does need support, unless you let it scramble over other bushes which is what it does in China where it was found in 1844 by the Scottish plant collector Robert Fortune. Any shoot that touches the ground is likely to make roots and thus new plants. Pruning is done in spring by cutting back the old shoots to allow fresh growth to develop in time for next winter. Old plants can be rejuvenated by cutting away the top growth to encourage young shoots from the base.
Less immediately striking, as its flower are so small, are the forms of sweet or Christmas box, Sarcococca. The scent, however, makes up for the relatively insignificant white or pinkish flowers. Originally from China, these undemanding evergreen shrubs rarely grow more than a metre high. Plant near a path or doorway to enjoy the scent.