Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chimonanthus nitens flowering in the shade of Cedrus deodara

This is not Chimonanthus praecox, the delightfully fragrant Wintersweet, but it's a pleasant enough shrub. I first met it at Behnke's many years ago. I'd been begging the Woody Plants buyer to get us more Wintersweet, a plea that had been meeting pretty grim resistance for several years, when all of a sudden appeared, six 15 gallon 6 foot plants of C. nitens. Any reasonable markup would have made them around 100 dollars retail. But they aren't fragrant and they were large, and..... I think they were eventually sold at some discount and starting the next year they always stocked Wintersweet. Which, as I always say, is a plant that belongs in every Zone 7 garden. I've had a soft spot for nitens ever since; There's a ghostly quality to the delicate pendant flowers that isn't apparent from this picture which suggests the area is much better lit than it is. The magic of digital exposure adjustment has turns a quite gloomy area into a cheerfully bright one!


Anonymous said...

what if I already have a calycanthus? Is this sufficiently different?

ChrisU said...

It is different; Chimonanthus nitens (pictured) has no fragrance. C. praecox flowers in winter and has a delightful floral fragrance. Calycanthus florida is shorter but wider, flowers in late spring/early summer and has a fragrance that, though pleasant, in my opinion, is not the equal of Wintersweet.