Thanks again to Eric La Fountaine for the write-up and photograph today!
The bright snow-covered flowers of Chimonanthus praecox ‘Grandiflorus’ indicate the reason for the first half of the species’ common name, winter sweet. If you pass by the plant on Upper Asian Way in the David C. Lam Asian Garden, the sweetness drifts heavily in the air — even on a snowy winter day. ‘Grandiflorus’ has yellow flowers with maroon centres, which are larger than those of the species. The Royal Horticultural Society gave the cultivar an Award of Garden Merit in 1928 and a First Class Certificate in 1991. The heady fragrance is intoxicating, especially in winter when few flowers bloom in the garden. The scent of the species and its other cultivars is said to be even stronger than ‘Grandiflorus’.
Native to China, Chimonanthus praecox is a multibranching deciduous shrub that can grow to 4 metres or more in height and spread. The winter bloomer is hardy to USDA Zone 6.