Winter Colour and Scent in Paris

The Parc Martin Luther King in the 17th arrondissement of Paris is full of colour and scent despite it being the middle of winter.  The mild weather means bulbs are stirring and winter flowering shrubs are laden with fragrant flowers.

P1040485The daffodil bulbs are on their way and promising a great display for spring.

P1040491In a sunny corner ash trees are already in flower, here seen on Fraxinus angustifolia ‘Raywood’.  Ash trees are wind-pollinated and so have no need for insects.

  P1040495This crab apple still has plenty of yellow-orange fruit which glow in the low winter light.

P1040496The real highlight of the park at this time of year is this hedge of winter honeysuckle, which I’m guessing is probably Lonicera × purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’.  It has already been flowering for several weeks and the lemony scent is delicious and very uplifting in the grey dark days of winter.

P1040498Winter Honeysuckle

P1040502Another crab-apple glowing in the sunlight.  Below it, tree shadows are cast onto the skatepark wall.  Shadow is a great way of enriching winter gardens as the low winter sunlight casts sharp reflections of bare branches onto walls and paths.

 P1040509The Prunus trees are in full flower.  Above, the larger trees are covered with small double pale-pink to white flowers.  I’m guessing that they might be Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ as they have been flowering since December.   In the foreground the scented flowers of Prunus mume glow bright pink.

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Prunus mume, also known as the Chinese Plum originates in Asia.  As it flowers in mid-winter, it is used as a symbol of hope and perseverance in the Chinese decorative arts.

P1040511On a still sunny day, the flowers of the Prunus and the rich green pine contrast beautifully against the pale blue of a winter sky.  As I watched two bees chasing around the blossoms, I was amazed to see a butterfly land to sip the nectar from the cherry blossoms.  Spring is on its way.

P1040513Under the cherry trees, the heady fragrance of Sarcococca fills the air.

P1040518In the low winter sunlight, the glossy green leaves of Fatsia japonica are brightening another corner of the park.  Until now, I’ve never been a big fan of fatsia, thinking their exotic leaves rather out of place, but over the last few weeks I’ve been enjoying watching their architectural flowers and berries develop.

P1040524The pine trees, flowering cherries and sarcococca make this a lovely winter path.

P1040528More scent and colour brought by a viburnum, probably Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn’

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Under the viburnum, a ground-cover of geraniums have been flowering since last summer.  This pretty pink variety compliments the flowers of the viburnum above.

P1040530

Across the path, another viburnum, Viburnum tinus, was also coming into flower.  This attractive shrub is good for informal hedges and screens and is very low maintenance.  The mid-green leaves are brighter than many evergreens and the pink-white flowers bloom on purple stems from autumn to spring.

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At the entrance of the park, an ochre-orange wall sets off perfectly the white stems of this Rubus thibetanus.

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P1040544I’m currently enjoying the winter flowers in my window box :  a Christmas rose, Helleborus niger and some dwarf Iris, Iris histrioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’, both of which I brought back from my visit in October to the Coursons Plant Fair.

For more on the Parc Martin Luther King, see my post back in October last year, ‘Autumn in the Parc Martin Luther King‘.

Practical information:

Transport :  Parc Martin Luther King, Rue Cardinet, 75017, Paris.  The nearest metro station is Brochant on Line 13 (Asnières branch).
Opening hours:  See this link to the park’s webpage as opening hours change with the seasons.
Facilities:  Two play areas, one for younger, one for older children.  A huge skate park, tennis and basketball courts, public toilets.
Nearby attractions: The nearby Square des Batignolles is a 19th century park also well worth a visit and I’m sure I’ll review it here soon.   The Batignolles area of Paris is a lovely quartier to explore with lots of new vintage boutiques, cafés and restaurants (Try rues Nollet, Lermercier, Truffaut, des Moines et Legendre).  For picnic ingredients try the daily (except Mon) covered market in rue Lemercier or a little further away the organic market on Saturday mornings on Boulevarde des Batignoles (metro Place Clichy).  The park is currently undergoing a 2.2 hectare extension so part of the park is currently off-limits for building work.
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