Cold weather – what cold weather?

We are in the midst of what the media are calling “the beast from the east.” While it is cold (by British standards) and we are getting a little snow, it will only last a for a week and is nowhere near as inhospitable as the month of cold weather we endured at the end of 2010. But despite overnight lows of -6C, a shrub in my garden shows absolutely no sign of being affected by the chilly conditions.

Coronilla valentina subsp glauca var citrina (please, somebody come up with a simpler name!) looks like it should be on the tender side. Blue-green leaves (hence the glauca), pale yellow flowers (that’s the var citrina bit), and spindly growth look as if they wouldn’t stand a hint of frost. Not a bit of it – biting east winds, wind chill approaching -10C, and salt spray from a gritted road – bring it on.

Coronilla valentina subsp glauca var citrina - 2017

And you don’t get just one display of flowers per annum, you can get three. Late winter to early spring, and again in late summer according to the RHS. Mine flowers in April too.

Give it well-drained conditions (but not too dry) and full sun, and this should flower its heart out for you. Left unchecked, it will reach a height and spread of five feet but be rather top heavy and unwieldy, with unproductive woody growth low down. Much better to cut it back hard after each flowering flush and let it regenerate; this keeps it to a more manageable three feet and much more floriferous.

Coronilla valentina subsp glauca var citrina (close-up) - 2014

Isn’t it good to know of something that squares up to the beast from the east and comes out on top.



2 thoughts on “Cold weather – what cold weather?

  1. Yes, and will even survive on the East Coast of Scotland. But it only flowers twice for me….although one flowering can last from November to May in a mild winter. Here we have had a very cold winter….long and sustained periods of frost and now this awful blizzard. The Coronilla hasn’t been flowering since …oh probably since November. But it has flowered through the winter in all the previous years that I’ve had it, given some shelter from the North and East. A fabulous plant.


    1. It’s certainly a tough customer. Here in balmy Berkshire, it’s been flowering non-stop since October. Haven’t checked today, but it was still going strong yesterday despite three nights in a row at -5C


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