Here are a couple of our favorite winter-flowering mahonias currently in bloom at JLBG. The first is the North American native, Mahonia gracillis, which is virtually unknown in cultivation. Without several collections from the former Yucca Do Nursery, this probably wouldn’t even be known by US gardeners. The 8′ tall, unkempt form is adorned, starting in mid-January with small clusters of intensely-fragrant yellow flowers.
Below is Mahonia x lindsayae ‘Cantab’. This is a hybrid of Mahonia siamensis x japonica. Mahonia ‘Cantab’ also forms a rather scraggly plant, which is why you never see it offered for sale. Despite the form, the show of long-racemes of extremely fragrant flowers over a long period in winter are truly remarkable.