I discovered this absolute gem of a late winter, early spring flowering shrub at a local garden centre this time last year and have absolutely fallen in love with it! Edgeworthia chrysantha, also known as the ‘paper bush’, is a stunning small shrub native to the Himalayas and China and is closely related to the well-known Daphne.
The buds form in autumn, slowly enlarging throughout the winter in tightly held nodding clusters at the end of twiggy bare branches. Each cluster is covered in silky white hairs which look very attractive in themselves almost looking like a light covering of frost. In late winter the small individual flowers open from the edge of each cluster like ballerina skirts until they are all fully open.
I have a large plant nearly 1m across next to my front door so I can enjoy it every time I pass and inhale its intense fragrance which is divine – in fact I make excuses to go out so I can enjoy its beauty!
In March this year I saw many large specimens growing in gardens on a visit to Philadelphia US with some up to 2m tall by 3m wide. I have no idea why this late winter flowering shrub is not grown more often in our warmer gardens. It is hardy to around -5C so best planted against a sunny south facing wall with some protection at hand for cold snaps, or you can do what I do, leave it outside and bring it under cover just on those really cold nights.
I think it’s worth that extra bit of effort for a shrub that will reward you with a fantastic show in late winter for years to come.
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Buy this beautiful plant from here