There is nothing better than walking into a garden and breathing in a heavenly scent, whether fresh and floral, or heady and intoxicating, so we thought we’d provide a list of various shrubs that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the rose or the honeysuckle to indulge your olfactory senses. Hopefully this will help you with planning for next year, but some of these are actually coming into flower now, to provide a perfumed surprise in these cold and wintry conditions, especially if planted close to an entrance or pathway.
Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’
A large, deciduous cultivar from the Chimonanthus genus that will bear sweetly scented, yellow winter flowers on bare shoots, as the plant’s green foliage will only show through spring and summer. You can expect a height and spread of 4m.
Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’
This evergreen shrub will support broad, palmated, golden foliage throughout the year and clusters of white, star-shaped flowers during late spring and occasionally in autumn. The Sundance has a maximum height and spread of 2m.
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’
A really dramatic addition to your garden, this upright evergreen will reach heights of around 2.4m, whilst hosting large numbers of intensely fragrant, pale pink flowers from purple-pink buds during the winter months. This cultivar appreciates shelter in particularly cold regions.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’
This small, dense, evergreen shrub is possessed of narrow, grey-green, aromatic foliage, off- set by its narrow spikes of fragrant, purple flowers. It is an upright cultivar and you can expect heights of up to 60cms.
The Osmanthus is a fairly gradual shrub, you can expect it to achieve its ultimate height and spread (4m) within the first decade and it will bear its small, white flowers through spring and black fruits in the autumn.
Philadelphus coronarious ‘Aureus’
This is a deciduous shrub with tall branches and an arching habit. These branches will be festooned with beautifully scented, white flowers throughout the spring and summer when they will be offset by bright golden foliage. Expect a final height and spread of 2.5m and 1.5m respectively.
This variety of Rhododendron is ultimately a large, bushy, deciduous shrub that will bear bright yellow, tubular flowers with a gorgeous perfume. It also has green foliage which will appear orange, purple and red in the autumn and ultimate dimensions of 4m height and spread. This plant prefers an acid soil.
Sarcoccocca hookeriana humilis
This dwarf shrub has a clump-forming habit and will bear bright green foliage through all seasons. Its flowers will vary between white and pale pink, however are borne strictly during the winter months. Due to its growth habit, heights will not exceed ½ m while its overall spread will reach double that.
Syringa vulgaris ‘Charles Joly’
The ‘Charles Joly’ is a variety of the familiar Lilac and is a large shrub with heart-shaped, deciduous foliage and purple, springtime flowers. You can expect a final height and spread of 4m, however these plants should under no circumstances be housed in acidic soil as this will inhibit their flowering.
Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’
A dense and bushy shrub that will bear toothed, ovate foliage from spring to autumn but whose heads of pinkish-white flowers are reserved for the spring time. Expect a maximum height and spread of around 2.5m and 1.5m respectively.
Except in aforementioned cases, all the cultivars listed here are hardy and, as such, suited to year round growth. However, if planting up during the winter months and as with any newly established plant, we would recommend judicious care be taken in the case of overwatering, as this can encourage greater frost damage.
By Josh Ellison