Every garden should have at least one fragrant shrub to lift the spirits in the depths of winter. Here are some of our favourites that are available in store:
Daphne (Daphne) usually evergreen, strongly fragrant (usually pink) flowers February to April.
Witchhazel (Hamamelis) spicy, sweet and spidery flowers in red, yellow and orange.
Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty') creamy white flowers in late winter.
Christmas Box (Sarcococca) a group of evergreen shrubs, white flowers mid winter then berries.
Skimmia 'Rubella' Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' flower buds in winter, white flowers early spring.
Viburnum 'Dawn' (Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn') clusters of white pink flowers on bare stems.
The daphne wins prizes for its beautiful scent, so it should be planted where it can be appreciated. Daphnes can be deciduous or evergreen, being upright, bushy or prostrate in habit. They produce flowers in shades of pink, red-purple and white and yellow, followed by round, white, pink, red, orange or purple fruits. They are fully hardy and grow in well in fairly fertile soil, usually neutral. Position in sun or partial shade and mulch annually with organic matter.
CHRISTMAS BOX (SARCOCOCCA)
The Christmas Box is a small group of tough evergreen shrubs that provide glossy evergreen foliage that bears clusters of small white flowers in winter followed by round glossy berries. However the highlight of this show comes in the scent which is sweet and powerful and can be picked up when nearing the shrub. They are fully hardy and can be grown in reasonably fertile, moist but well drained soil, enriched with organic matter. Trim or prune back any stems to keep a nice shape on the shrub after flowering but do not over prune as this can result in fewer flowers.
Skimmias are truly are fetching addition to any garden and can be very eye-catching at a time when there is not much going on the garden. They vary in size and but there a compact varieties that are perfect for the smaller garden. Buds that are prominent in the winter, turn into flowers, sometimes scented and then beautiful berries in either black red or white. Some skimmias produce male and female plants so both are needed for fruit. They are fully hardy and can be grown in reasonably fertile soil with well-rotted manure added. Grouped with other shrubs they contribution to the winter garden is not in doubt.