No fragrance garden is complete without Lonicera fragrantissima, a species of flowering plant in the honeysuckle family known by the common names winter honeysuckle, fragrant honeysuckle, January jasmine, and sweet breath of spring.
In previous years, it has bloomed in January. But because of an unusually cold winter it has just flowered.
You don't have to search the garden to know when they have bloomed, even if they are hidden away in some remote part of your garden: your nose will lead you straight to this deciduous shrub.
Not every plant has it all, and winter honeysuckle doesn't get high marks for shape or form. Its stiff branches grow at weird angles. The photos below show mine today, before the leaves have emerged and the tree leaves cleaned away from the base.
Even after it leafs out, the winter honeysuckle is not a handsome plant. But now that I've told you all the negatives, I'll tell you why it's so great having one, or several.
You cannot believe how fragrant they are! It's difficult to describe, different from wild honeysuckle, not as sweet, but richer and fuller.
To go outdoors and be greeted by this lovely scent will make your day!
I have three plants, strategically planted around the property so that I'm never out of range of the smell when they are in bloom. I started with one plant, but sprouts came up and I dug them up and transplanted two. I gave away a few as well.
Once I rake away the leaves, I'm going to see if there any new babies that have formed. I long for a row of this plant along the fence line at the back of the house.
Now please excuse me while I go get high on the scent of winter honeysuckle!