We have a pretty small front garden, basically only about 15′ wide down to the lane, but the size doesn’t stop it giving the most wonderful fragrances even at this time of the year.
These are the shrubs whose lovely smells really cheer us up every time we go out into the cold.
This is Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’
This lovely shrub grows over the years to about 2.5 metres, but long, long before that it will be giving you lovely fragrant flowers right through the winter. Very tolerant of all soils, just likes a bit of drainage and will even tolerate a bit of shade.
The next shrub is which really cheers up each winter’s morning is a honeysuckle, Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty
Again this lovely shrub, which also can grow over 18 years or so 2.5 metres, is not very fussy in liking most soils.
Will also put up with some shade too.
It flowers from about January to April, and it never fails to surprise with its lovely fragrance – even on the most miserable day !
Witch hazels are lovely veratile shrubs, and we are lucky enough to have a mature Hamamelis mollis to cheer us up right through these long, cold mid winter months.
These lovely shrubs can grow up to about 4 metres though, our mature one is about that. Although as the branches are quite delicate it certainly will not be overpowering.
They are pretty tolerant, though prefer acid to neutral soils.
Lastly we have two lovely Box’s in our small front garden, both giving colour and the warmest of fragrances on the coldest, greyest of a winter’s day.
The first is Sarcococca confusa.
It will grow eventually to about 2 metres, and its small creamy flowers have such a cheerful, almost sweet, smell (and I think the really shiny black berries are attractive in their own right.)
Again pretty tolerant, although tends to prefer shade over bright sunshine, although prefers a bit of shelter from harsh winter winds.
The other Box we are really chuffed about is another ‘Sweet’ Box Sarcocca hookeriana
We have this planted next to the ‘confusa’ and both are now mature at about 1.5 metres. They are pretty similar and tolerant in requirements, but are not very happy in full Sun.
With all these shrubs, happily sitting amongst the snowdrops, the long, essential (but to me sometimes frustrating) dormant period of winter seems a bit more bearable.
Also don’t forget how you will be helping those early rising bees – they will be even happier than you with your oasis of winter colour and fragrance !
Take some cuttings from amenable gardeners in the Spring or Summer, and in a couple of years you could have a fragrant garden on the darkest of days !