Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fragrance in the Winter Garden

Do you have blooms in your winter garden? Those of us who live in the moderate climates can have blooms AND fragrance. In the next few posts I will share some of my reliable favorites. The first one is Prunus mume 'Hokkai-bungo', a Japanese flowering apricot. It blooms January through February, though I have had a few buds open in December.

The first one I saw was in a friend's garden. Hers was in bloom and I was sold! You can read about my visit here. These double blooms are dark pink-red and have a spicy cinnamon fragrance. The fragrance really fills the air when all the blooms are open. Mine is planted by the driveway so I can enjoy both the blooms and fragrance. It is so nice to have something blooming in January.

Hokkai-bungo grows to 15 to 20 feet at maturity and is hardy to zone 6. My tree is still young and is about 7 or 8 feet tall. Many Prunus are used as Bonsai trees. As this tree ages its growth pattern is said to be gnarly with dark bark. 

I have read this tree produces edible apricot fruits but the fruit is reportedly quite sour and often pickled. As I only have one tree I am not sure that mine will fruit. I can't find information on whether it needs a second tree to cross pollinate to produce fruit.

Prunus is susceptible to freezes. The bark will split and crack causing stress to the tree.  I know mine has some bark peeling, I hope it is minor and will not cause it to die. I am keeping an eye on it. Watch for more posts in the coming years as this flowering apricot fills the front part of my garden.

Stay tuned for more posts on fragrant plants in the winter garden.

Look at all those buds ready to pop

©Copyright 2019 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.


  1. A "spicy cinnamon" fragrance! Sounds delightful. With climate change, this tree might even survive my area (sadly, but still) ... although it wouldn't bloom until later. The color is attractive, too. Very nice.

    1. Beth, whenever I go outside the fragrance is so wonderful. The night of the lunar eclipse I smelled a strong cinnamon fragrance after dark, stronger than during the day.

  2. Prunus mume cultivars were always early-flowering standouts at SCBG. They don't fair well in Asheville, as far as I know, being somewhat dicey in the Upstate as far as flowering (before freezes).


    1. Thanks Lisa, I am enjoying it! My fingers are crossed that the bark splits are minor.


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