January has been unusual for us in respect we have actually had winter. Temperatures have been as low as minus 7. This has had the added benefit of delaying the Magnolia from coming into bloom. The past 6 years has seen a seedling of Magnolia mollicomata flower between 19-21st of Jan so far this year not a sign of any colour let alone a flower. The buds are still tightly wrapped in their furry jackets and waiting for some warmer weather to show off their wares.
Some plants, mainly camellia, have been competing with the winter shrubs of Daphne, Mahonia and Hamamelis for winter glory. Camellia x williamsii ‘November pink' has been in flower since December right through the cold, with a bit of bruising on the petals and is still in full bloom now. The earliest of the ‘Spring' flowering camellia are C x williamsii ‘St Ewe', C.japonica ‘Lovelight' and seedlings of C.saluenensis. Add to this Rhododendron arboreum and Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer' and we have a really colourful spring (although apparently it's still officially winter!).