This plant (Helleborus foetidus) also goes by the name of dungwort, reeking hellebore, stinking hellebore, and in fact, foetidus means smelly. However, you have to crush the stems and foliage to get the aroma, otherwise it is perfectly respectable. It has quite an unusual flower with celadon green petals edged in burgundy, and the evergreen foliage is handsome as well.
Located – Border Garden and Infinity Garden
These old Southern favorites are actually native to China, Japan, and Korea. Camellias (Camellia japonica and hybrids) are prized for their large showy, winter and spring-blooming flowers. Although they are planted throughout NBG, the best place to see them in the Hofheimer Camellia Garden. NBG has an internationally recognized camellia collection with over 1000 different varieties and nearly 2000 individual plants.
Located – Hofheimer Camellia Garden
Although the common name for this plant might lead you to believe it is a cherry, it is actually an Asian dogwood (Cornus mas ‘Spring Glow’). With its bright yellow blooms, it is one of the earliest of the small flowering trees to show its colors. By the way, that common name comes from the showy red fruit that will form later this summer.
Located – Picnic Area
This plant is sometimes referred to as paperbush, but so are other plants, so we stick to with its botanical name of Edgeworthia to avoid confusion. The silvery buds form in December and open in February to clusters of golden yellow, sweetly fragrant flowers. It is one of our favorite winter blooming shrubs.
Located – Winter Garden and Statuary Vista
Japanese Flowering Apricots
Native to China and grown extensively in Japan, Japanese apricots (Prunus mume) are revered in both countries for their winter blooms, reminders that change is on its way. They come in shades of red, pink, or white, but as colorful as they are, your nose may notice them first. They are delightfully fragrant!
Located – Blocker Terrace and Le Jardin
The first azaleas of the season!
Rhododendron simsii ‘Vittatum’ is an old favorite here at NBG, and it is one of the first to bloom every year in late winter. Head to the Infinity Garden and turn right at the gazebo. A walk on that path will bring you up close to their blooms of fuchsia and white.
Located – The Infinity Garden
This plant (Daphne odora) has a well deserved reputation for being finicky. Not too wet, not too dry, not too sunny, not too shady, and even when the stars align and a perfect spot is found – they can die for no apparent reason. So why bother? The thickly sweet fragrance is profound, one plant capable of perfuming an entire garden. Pro-tip: once planted, never say its name, just enjoy.
Located – The Glade