I specify the winter flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) in big wild bellowing schemes. They need space to spread and they don’t form a nice tidy shape, they go all over the place. They do however have one major bonus. This beautiful long flowering bloom that fills the air and lasts months. They start flowering before Christmas on bare wood and continue until spring bulbs are well in their stride (End of March). This is where they sing for their supper.
Lonicera fragrantissima, Mahonia and Blackthorn are great early pollinators as bees start venturing out again. If you are going to use it, then make sure you have some high performing summer interest because Lonicera fragrantissima will be a bit of a dull backing singer over summer.
In my experience, the winter flowering Honeysuckle prefers partial shade and being an understorey plant. It tolerates any soil type and will stand up to a fair old wind but doesn’t like salt in the wind. Try not to prune it in its formative years and don’t hack at it as you’ll