If you want some midwinter color, try a witch hazel. I have several species planted around the garden, but only my Chinese Witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) is blooming right now. It's usually the first to start blooming even during the coldest winters.
The blooms are bright yellow with a deep red calyx. Besides it's vivid color, this witch hazel flower produces a delightful sweet fragrance. I initially bought this deciduous shrub because it could grow in my partly shaded mixed border. Its vibrant yellow fall foliage and these colorful winter blooms were just bonuses.
This shrub is now about 14 feet high. However, while I get leaves on the top branches in summer, the winter flowers are only present on the middle and lower branches. If anyone has an idea why, please share.
Neither this plant nor the popular astringent made from its bark and leaves are actually named after the black-hatted enchantress that flies on brooms. The Witch part comes from an the old English word "wice" that means pliable. The Hazel part comes from American colonists who confused this shrub with the common Hazelnut.
So that I could enjoy the color and scent indoors, I snipped a few of the smaller blooming branches and stuck them in a vase with inkberry branches. I like the way the dark evergreen leaves set off the blossoms. Funny how a bewitching indoor floral display can inspire a new outdoor planting.