Mahonia ‘Winter Sun’
‘Winter Sun’ Mahonia is a great garden plant if you don’t mind the lethal spines on the leaves. I have several planted in a range from full sun to shade. The plants and blooms in sun are larger, although the ones in shade are doing fine. Mahonia beali seems to grow equally as well in sun or shady conditions, but it has a more open growth habit, and blooms in late winter, early spring. The grape-like fruit on Mahonia beali are larger and more evident, but I prefer ‘Winter Sun’ because it blooms when nothing else is in bloom.
The first photo of ‘Winter Sun’ was taken in late November. The buds are quite unusual. The second photo was taken around the start of the new year.
The hellebores are beginning to send out flower buds in early January that will open late in the month. They aren’t very showy since the blooms often face the ground and sometimes are obscured by the foliage. To take photos of hellebores’ flowers you have to lay on the ground and pull the flower up without getting your hand in the picture.
The buds for witch hazel are just beginning to open the second week of January. It will be another couple weeks before they’re showing color. I don’t have a good sniffer, but they are very fragrant.
Hollies This picture is ‘Centennial Girl’, but in my garden there are berries on Nellie Stevens, English holly, Mary Nell, Patriot, Christmas Cheer, and a few others that don’t occur to me at the moment. All of these are pyramidal or conical upright growing that will mature 10-20 feet in height.
Nandina The Nandina domestica and domestica ‘Compacta’ berry heavily. The larger Domestica berries so heavily that branches droop down. Gulfstream, Harbor Dwarf, Firepower, and Moonbay nandinas in the garden get no berries, or at least not significant enough for me to notice.