Scented shrubs for winter glamour

Scent is a massive topic in winter gardening stories, especially as it is one of the more glamorous horticultural things we gardening journalists get to ramble on about amidst a sea of chopping, planting and wrapping advice; I challenge you to find a gardening section at this time of year without its annual dose of scented winter shrubs. You lovely lot don’t necessarily gravitate towards gardening sections though, which is why I’m giving you my favourite winter scented shrubs here, in the hope that you’ll seek these out the next time you’re in a garden centre, and snap one (or all of them) up for your own space. I promise, you will not be disappointed.


Sarcococca confusa

Sarcococca confusa  (Christmas box / Sweet box)

Sarcococca confusa (Christmas box / Sweet box)

Smart, evergreen shrub that looks like nothing very much all year and then suddenly bursts forth into flower in January with tiny white flowers, which pump out the most glorious sweet scent. A couple of these in pots, flanking your front door is the way to go, and if you have the space, put some out the back as well. Incredibly tolerant of most conditions, even the dreaded dry shade. NOTHING NOT TO LOVE!



Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

Daphne odora  'Aureomarginata'

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'

Absolutely stunning pale-margined green leaves and waxy pink flowers with reflexed petals that smell like you’ve died and gone to heaven. This is the HAUTE of winter scent - it really really is. You have to be nice to it, and give it a sheltered spot with well-drained but fertile soil, but if it likes you then glory will be yours. 


Viburnum tinus

Viburnum tinus

Viburnum tinus

Don’t turn your nose up and tell me it’s only for a car park…this is a true beauty – loves being clipped and preened, into lolly pops and hedges and all manner of things, and has scented flowers from December onwards. 


And if you don’t mind a bit of messy…

These above area all frightfully well-behaved plants. Next time I'll put up a couple of rather messier (but no less gloriously scented) options for those with a bit more space...stay tuned my loves...