Scented Plants for WinterWednesday 8th February 2023
At this time of year, a bit of winter colour and scent can really lift the spirits. Here are a few which we highly recommend.
Witch hazel – my favourite and one of the best plants in the garden – Hamamelis x Intermedia ‘Pallida’
This beautiful highly-scented shrub is one of the best in the garden and at this time of year you cannot walk past without admiring it. It has lovely bright yellow flowers and, although it’s slow to grow and sometimes difficult to get going, it’s definitely worth the effort. They like rich soil in the sun or shade and was unharmed through the drought but here at East Bergholt Place it is planted in good moisture-retentive soil.
It’s always a joy when the snowdrops appear, the flowers poking out before the leaves. I remember years ago going for lunch and all the way down the table were tiny vases of snowdrops. They have a light honey scent. Best planted ‘in the green’ i.e. now, they are dug up from the ground and sold in bags in flower ready to simply replant.
Winter flowering Honeysuckle – Lonicera Fragrantissima
As the name suggests this very hardy and robust shrub is brilliantly scented. We have one by our back door and it is great to pick as it lasts for ages in water. It flowers on last year’s growth and is beautifully honey-scented. It grows in any exposed position in dry soil so is a good one to beat the drought, sun or shade.
Coronilla Valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’
Floppy evergreen shrub with yellow pea-like flowers. It flowers all through the winter and is a good winter shrub. We have one which flops over itself by our back door, the peacocks rather like pecking the leaves but above this level we get lovely yellow flowers. It will grow in sun or shade and is happy in light soil but most probably likes some shelter. It was unharmed and unwatered through last summer but is positioned in the shade which probably kept it cooler – being from the pea family it does not mind the dry.
Christmas Box Sarcococca
Any variety, these ever-green hardy shrubs have a strong sweet scent, flower through December, January and February and last for weeks if picked and placed in a vase of water. They like shade and a cool position and all ours got through the drought last summer without watering as well as surviving the hard winter. Perfect for a shady spot in any soil.
Winter Sweet – Chimonanthus Praecox
As I write, the flowers on this woody shrub are just appearing. They are rather exotic-looking spiky flowers but the scent is amazing and, when picked and placed in a mixed vase of flowers in February, are very special. Rather a scruffy shrub but if you have room in your garden do plant one; all ours are planted in sheltered positions in fertile soil and all have survived the drought and cold no problem.
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