It may be common as muck, but winter jasmine, jasminum nudiflorum, is very welcome at this time of year. Not only does it flower in mid winter, but the bright yellow of its blooms brighten what can be a very gloomy time of year.
A native of China, this is strictly speaking a lax shrub growing to ten feet, but is more usually seen tied to supports against a sunny wall where its display can be better appreciated. It is not a ‘tidy’ plant, and can become very congested and ungainly if left unpruned. Cutting out the flowering shoots after the flowers fade keeps it in check and a slightly better prospect for the rest of the year (although it still won’t win any beauty contest in high summer). Although it flowers better in a sunny position, this year’s hot summer has resulted in a good display even on specimens growing in the shade, obviously encouraged by well-ripened wood.
Although not often seen for sale, the plant is easy to propagate as shoots touching the soil often form roots; this layer can then be detached and potted up for a new plant.
Right now, it’s too cold to even think of discarding any layers of clothes, so I’ll leave it to winter jasmine to be this year’s Christmas nudist!