Additional winter flowering plants are the large manzanita group(arctostaphylos spp.), flowering currants(Ribes spp.), Prunus mume, winter daphne(Daphne ordora and cvs.) among others.
There are also many plants with attractive colorful and showy bark characters. Shrub dogwoods(Cornus spp.), paperbark and stripe/snakebark maples, shrub willows(Salix spp.)
Manzanitas are a large group of native plants which fill many garden planting needs. There are carpeting ground covers, higher ground covers, low spreading shrub forms all the way up to larger shrubs and small trees. Flowers are in late winter to spring and are small and urn shaped in whites and pinks. They are displayed in small to large clusters. Many of these are drought tolerant. Most have showy bark that can be peeling or smooth in reds, to purples.
The flowering currants (Ribes spp.) are also showy. These are also natives and come from various areas from coastal to inland. R. sanguineum glutinosum is a commonly used landscape plant. This shrub has rounded maple like leaves and hanging tassel like clusters of blooms. Individual flowers are small and tubelike in these pendulous clusters, coming in white, mainly pinks, and reds. Edible purple fruit follows if pollinated. These shrubs grow in sun or shade.
R. malvaceum is the inland representative with stiffer upright branching and smaller clusters of redder flowers and is exceedingly heat and drought tolerant. R. speciosum is a jewel with its hanging crimson red lantern shaped flowers with graceful red stamens protruding below the petals. This one is wickedly spiny so is good for barrier plantings.
Prunus mume is almost never seen except by those familiar with several Far Eastern cultures. This is the flowering plum/apricot (Ume’) Twiggy growth to small tree size and clean spicy fragrance are hallmarks of this plant. There are upright and weeping forms and a rare contorted form. Single and double flowers in whites, pinks, reds cover the bare branches, even if it snows. This plant needs a warm summer, fall to ripen the wood and good drainage. It can live to over 400 yrs!
Winter daphne is a long time favorite. It is challenging to grow, but so loved for its perfume that people are always willing to try it again, even after several failed attempts. Leathery glossy leaves clothe the bush, and winter produces deliciously fragrant small pink or white blooms which are not very visually noticeable, but very arresting to passers by because of the strong scent. Very good drainage is needed for this, perhaps rhododendron culture is the most successful for it, but watch excessive summer water, as that can kill it.
Bark colors are quite showy on the shrub species of dogwoods and willows. Cornus alba and C. sericea(C. stolonifera) have many varieties with red or yellow brilliant winter colored bark. The newer selections have variegated leaves. These are showy for wet areas in the landscape. The same for the shrub willows. Yellow, orange and red bark colors.
The striped bark species and selections of the large maple group(Acer) are outstanding and almost unknown. Medium sized trees flaunt stems with often green base colors veined with stunning white stripes. There are also yellow and purple and red base colors with conspicuous striping. A. capillipes, A. davidii, A. grosseri, A. rufinerve, A. rubescens, A. tegmentosum are among the showy species. ‘White Tigress’ and Winter Gold’ are some of the outstanding showy varieties.
The paperbark species are also nice. Cinnamon brown peely bark like some birches and often trifoliate leaflets are characteristic of these. A. griseum, A. ‘Cinnamon Flake’, are the main paperbarks. A. triflorum is unique with its stiffly curling bark, something like curled chocolate in texture, but in honey tan colored bark and trifoliate leaflets.
For more info and details, check the website www.hanascape.com or visit the nursery to see more