Saturday 21 January 2012: Winter scent...
Today has been a very strange mixture of grey skies, gusty winds, sharp showers and the occasional brief burst of sunshine. I took the dogs out at lunchtime, but didn't manage a single decent photograph. So during one of the brief sunny spells I popped out and took this image of one of my favourite winter-flowering shrubs, and then spent a little time playing with textures and layers.
The following description of Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' is taken from the RHS web-site. I can definitely recommend this shrub unless you have a tiny garden. Ours grows quite tall, probably up to 4m if we don't prune it back regularly, but is a delight through all the seasons.
This beautiful hybrid, is a deciduous shrub with burnished bronze foliage in autumn and exquisitely fragrant flowers from late autumn into early spring. It earns its place in any garden, as it flowers freely all winter. The flowering season is usually stated to be from mid-October until March, but the dense clusters of sweetly scented, rose-tinted flowers often start appearing earlier while the leaves are still on, and can continue past Easter.
In mild spells it is a spectacular sight, very cheering on a winter's day. The flowers are generally frost resistant but even if they do get frosted, more soon open within a few days. Cut a few sprigs for the house - as cut flowers they last a long time.
V. x bodnantense is a medium to large shrub with a strong upright habit when young, later arching outwards gracefully. A sunny site is best but it can also tolerate dappled shade - in too much shade it will just grow towards the light. As it flowers on bare stems, it is best planted against a green background (such as hedging) to show off its beautiful clusters of flowers, or mixed in with other coloured stems.
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' has dark pink flowers that age to white, strongly flushed pink. V. x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' is similar, but the flowers are a purer, brighter pink.