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January’s flowers

Rosita Missoni's garden is always in bloom, especially in this mild January

January has been unseasonably warm up north, and Rosita Missoni’s garden is always in bloom. This is the season of the Wintersweet (Chimonanthus) and its yellow and dark red flowers: a tree as unassuming in appearance as it is boisterous in its fragrance. Everything about the wintersweet smells lovely, from flowers to branches; its flowering coincides with the Chinese New Year, and in China its branches are used as hair ornaments during the celebrations.


Also from China is the Hamamelis Mollis, or Chinese witch hazel, which – unlike its American counterpart, the witch hazel – is purely ornamental, with bright yellow flowers in winter and green leaves that turn yellow in the fall. Also very high on the prettiness scale is the Winter Daphne (Daphne Odora), with its tiny, fragrant clusters of white flowers surrounded by large, dark-green leaves. It is, unfortunately, a very fragile, delicate plant that hides a dangerous secret: its sap is poisonous and may cause skin irritation.


The Edgeworthia Papyrifera, or Japanese paper bush, is also in bloom at this time of the year: what you see in the picture are the blossoms, which later turn into puffy white flowers. The leaves do not grow until later in the year.


The Sarcocca Ruscifolia (commonly known as white box or Christmas box) flowered earlier in the winter, and its flowers have turned to berries. It grows in the underbrush: its flowers are very fragrant, but the resulting berries emanate a peculiar smell.


Last (but definitely not least), a flower we have seen before: we talked about the Camellia Sasanqua in our November flowering (read it to find out more about the various uses of this prodigious plant), but we could not resist including it once again: the white variety is too beautiful to leave out altogether.


See our previous flowerings!






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