As the days get darker, mimosa and camellia still deliver bursts of joy and colour in the garden
As the days get ever shorter, it can feel harder and harder to get your horticultural fix. As a life-long plant obsessive who derives so much of his pleasure from seeing new leaves unfurl and flowers burst into bloom, growing up in tropical Singapore totally spoiled me. When I moved to the UK for university, where the growing season I had to work with suddenly shrank from 12 full months a year of peak development to as little as three months for some species, I desperately had to seek out species as horticultural coping strategies to keep me going. Here are some of my very favourite plants that offer flower and fragrance just when you need it most. Over the years, they have been my lifeline through the long, dark winter months.
When the rest of the garden starts sliding into winter slumber, the incredibly architectural branches of Mahonia japonica burst forth with big bunches of yellow flowers from their tips. The haunting fragrance of orange blossom fills the air around them, giving you an instant flashback to summer warmth on the frostiest of mornings.