Top Ten Shrubs for Year Round Fragrance

A Year in Perfume – Top Ten Shrubs for Year Round Fragrance

Often when designing our gardens we can find ourselves overly fixated on the visual image and sometimes forget our other senses. In one of our previous blogs we touched on the subtle nuance that certain materials can lend a space in the way of sound, but today we discuss the powerful contribution perfume can make to a garden and in particular, scented shrubs. Here are our top ten for year-round fragrance:


A distant relative of the Buxus hedging made famous by formal gardens, this Asian variety prefers well-drained soil in partial or full shade and will produce scented white flowers from December to March.

Daphne mezereum

A mid-sized deciduous shrub that alongside its scent produces mauve-pink or white blossom from February to March, to be followed by red berries in the summer. Plant in a sheltered position not on a northern aspect.

Viburnum burkwoodii

This large, rounded, bushy evergreen will produce pink-budding-to-white flowers from April to May and then slowly darkening red berries throughout summer. Prefers acidic, well-drained soil.

Choisya ternata

Another evergreen that enjoys a combination of sun and shelter in most soil types and with habit leaning toward bushy and rounded. Will produce white flowers from May to June and often again in the Autumn

Syringa (Lilac)

This large, upright shrub produces columns of lilac blooms, again from May to June, which like the Choisya may return in the summer. Be sure to plant these in a primarily alkaline soil with full sun and some shelter.


A deciduous shrub with oval shaped leaves and white, sometimes with a central purple blotch in its open blooms from June to July. Grow in full sun or partial shade with well-draining soil, fairly at home in any acidity.


Classic English Lavender, for those unfamiliar, is a small, bushy evergreen shrub whose scent is famous for its relaxing qualities and has been found to improve long term memory.  It will flower from July to September and prefers sun and well-drained soil composed primarily of chalk, sand or loam.

Magnolia grandiflora

With flowers of creamy white, inverted petals and glossy emerald foliage the Magnolia is a particularly showy evergreen and its flowers are highly fragrant into the bargain! It flowers from July to September and for best results plant in a sheltered position with well-drained soil.

Osmanthus heterophyllus

With a dense habit of dark green, holly-like foliage, this plant is possessed of striking visuals that persist through September to October in the form of white blooms. On top of that they are remarkably hardy, satisfied in acid or alkaline, shade or sun.

Viburnum bodnantense

A fast growing shrub that sports clusters of pink or white blooms on bare stems all the way from November to March. The Viburnum prefers acidic soil but is good for most aspects.

It’s good to plant scented shrubs near to entrances or under windows to take the best advantage of the perfume, or even cut a few stems and bring them into the house for everyone to enjoy.

So, with good care and attention you can ensure that your garden will be a feast for the senses all year round.


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