When the weather gets overcast and grey, there is nothing like this winter blooming shrub to bring a little cheer into the landscape. Blooming from November until March, Jasminum nudiflorum is an old fashioned garden shrub sporting supple green stems and countless small, bright yellow blooms. Grown free-form, she can be up to eight or ten feet tall, often scrambling up and over adjacent shrubs and small trees. Tolerant of frequent and even ruthless pruning, winter jasmine is often used as a hedge. In Forest Park, we often see her used on steep banks as a ground cover. I prune our jasmine only once a year in late spring when I am beginning to think I might be caught up with more pressing tasks. A neighbor with an impeccable winter jasmine hedge lining his long Cliff Road sidewalk undoubtedly has his hedge sheared monthly, for it is always picture perfect.
Winter jasmine is fully hardy for us in Birmingham. Available at most better garden centers, she is quick and easy to establish in the garden. Branches that touch down on soil often root, and the shrub pushes herself out further into the garden. Transplant and share these rootings with your friends, or beef up your jasmine hedge. My plants have never shown any disease or pest issues. Song birds use the tangle of stems to escape the Sharpshin hawk, and chipmunks escape our dogs there regularly. Once established, winter jasmine is a good groundcover, but in the early years, watch for tree seedlings and weeds among the foliage.