Instead of roses, this Valentine's Day consider giving your sweetheart a fragrant, pink bloom that will continue to warm her (or his) heart for years to come: a winter-blooming viburnum.
Commonly referred to as "Dawn" or "Charles Lamont," Viburnum x bodnantense is a hardy shrub, known for its strongly scented, pink flowers. Much like witch-hazel, viburnum x bodnantense is an early harbinger of spring, blooming on bare branches, from fall through Easter (depending on where you are). Afterwards, this viburnum produces full, vibrant green leaves, which turn a dusty pink-gold in the fall.
Above: Being a winter blooming plant, Viburnum x bodnantense is tolerant of frost and snow. A selection of more than two dozen Viburnums is available for prices ranging from $21.98 to $54.98 per plant from Nature Hills. Photo by Jill Welham via Flickr.
Above: A medium-to-large deciduous shrub (mature plants are 6-by-8 feet), the v-shaped Charles Lamont ($12 for a 4-inch -pot from Far Reaches Farm) has a strong vertical habit when it is young, later arching outwards gracefully. I
Growing well throughout the UK and in US zones 6-9, Viburnum Bodnantense can be found at many local nurseries. 1-2 foot plants can also be purchased at Forest Farm; $15. Photo by Eric Behrens via Flickr.
Above: Painted with a blush of pink, the lush green leaves of summer viburnum are almost as striking as the winter blooms. Photo by Janet "Crasherbug" via Flickr.
Above: According to the Royal Horticultural Society: Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' ($16.50 from Raintree Nursery) has dark pink flowers that age to white, strongly flushed pink. V. x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' is similar, but the flowers are a purer, brighter pink." Photo by Mona Routier.
Above: The fall leaves of Viburnum x bodnantense are often accompanied by the shrub's earliest fragrant blooms. Image by WBLA Corky via Flickr.
Above: Birds like viburnum too. Photo by Stourton via Flickr.
N.B.: Are you are looking for something that's not pink to send your valentine? See The Un-Pink Bouquet.