By Debbie Clark
People who garden love to see their gardens in bloom. Winter is that time of year when most gardens go to sleep and gardeners spend their time on hardscape, seed starting and browsing the internet for plant ideas.
Here in the south we can enjoy blooms all year round and even when the snow and ice does come, the flowers continue to bloom. If you do not have flowers in your garden, here are some suggestions for winter blooming shrubs, perennials and bulbs.
At the top of my list is a wonderful shrub called Edgeworthia chrysantha. This shrub requires little to no pruning and is highly fragrant. The plant starts blooming in December on bare branches with leaves starting to grow in warmer weather. Edgeworthia grows in sun to part shade and prefers enriched soil where it will grow to about 7 feet tall and wide. It grows in zones 7 to 9.
A garden would never be complete without daffodils. Daffodils give great color to a garden and they come in over 13,000 different varieties, forms and colors from yellow, white, orange and pink. Always plant your daffodil bulbs in the late fall to the proper depth on the planting instructions. One nice thing about daffodils is that deer will not eat them.
Hellebores can be a stunning plant in the garden. They bloom close to the ground from November to spring and the flowers last for a long time. This deer resistant perennial is a must in the garden. As they grow and mature they will seed but remember the seedlings will not come true to the parent plant. They prefer filtered light to shade, moist soil, tolerate heat and cold and are disease resistant. They come in a wide variety of colors and bloom shapes from single to double.
Camellias are attractive evergreen shrubs that are prized for their beautiful flowers. Camellias grow in zones 6 to 9 and they prefer moist, slightly acidic, organically rich, well-drained soil. The ideal pH is 5.5 to 6.5. They prefer part shade and a sheltered site to protect buds from cold and drying winds.
Always plant your camellia at the same depth as it was in the container it was grown in. Keep your new plant watered until established for the first year. Fertilizing or pruning is not necessary. Make sure you water your camellia during the dry times of the summer when buds are forming. If you are considering adding more winter blooming plants to your garden you might want to look into annuals like pansies or shrubs like azaleas, heather and witch hazel. All of these colorful annuals and shrubs will be sure to give your garden lots of beautiful color and blooms for that long winter season. Plan a visit to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge to enjoy the blooms of our winter blooming plants.
Debbie Clark is a retired Master Gardener, Lake Lure Flowering Bridge volunteer and LLFB board member. Visit and join her Facebook site for more gardening at “Hickory Nut Gorge Gardeners”.