February’s Quiet Winter Blooms
Botanic name: Lonicera standishii Common name: Standish’s honeysuckle Family: Caprifoliaceae
Walking down the garden hill toward the manor house, you will be treated to the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle. This winter blooming variety has already sprouted pairs of tubular white flowers amongst the dark green foliage. These will later form red berries, which are much loved by birds and small mammals.
Botanic name: Mahonia aquifolium Common name: Oregon Grape Family: Berberidaceae
This is the time of year to begin seeing Oregon’s state flower. While we often think of the grape-like berries and prickly leaves when this plant is mentioned, this time of year it sends out mildly fragrant yellow flowers. The plant gets from 3-6’ tall, so the flowers should be easy to see from the trail.
Botanic name: Oxalis oregana Common name: Redwood sorrel Family: Oxalidaceae
While this low growing groundcover may look like clover, it is, indeed, not. This variety gets its name from its appearance at the base of redwoods, where few plants aside from ferns make a home. Look for low growing, thick clumps of three-leaved stems with the occasional pink flower poking out. The leaves are quite responsive to light, and will change their leaf angle to suit their need.
Botanic name: Sarcococca confusa Common name: sweet box Family: Buxaceae
As you stroll the garden trails, you will be greeted with a sweet vanilla scent. That’s when you should look for sweet box. This time of year you will notice sprigs of small white tubular flowers hiding under dark, glossy evergreen leaves. It can get up to 7’ tall, so you should easily be able to view the flowers. We love them for their sweet scent – birds love them for the dark berries that will take the flowers’ place later.
Botanic name: Saracococca hookerana v digyna Common name: purple stem sweet box Family: Buxaceae
This sweet smelling shrub is lower growing – typically growing 2-3’. You will find this one just across the trail from its relative, described above.
You will know this plant by the pink tinged tubular tiny flowers on colorful burgundy-tinged stems, hiding under dark green, glossy ovate leaves.