Scented Shrubs for the Garden

Scented Shrubs for the Garden

When we think of scented plants for the garden we normally pick flowers like roses or pinks, or herbs such as lavender and rosemary. However, there are a large number of shrubs you can buy for the garden that have an array of wonderful fragrances and often have the benefit of being evergreen too. Here are just a few of my favourites for different seasons in the garden.

Winter fragrant shrubs

Perhaps the very best shrub for winter fragrance is daphne bholua. ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is evergreen with intensely fragrant flowers that are pink to purple with a white or pale pink centre. It is only semi-hardy and so may need some protection in severe weather. Azara microphylla has rather insignificant looking flowers but which have a string scent of pure vanilla. It is evergreen and likes a sheltered position on a patio or a courtyard setting. Winter box or sarcococca hookeriana again has small flowers but with a powerful fragrance. It is a fairly small, slow growing evergreen and so suited to container growing. Hamamelis or witch hazel is a lovely shrub for the winter garden with a strong uplifting scent. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Aurora’ has yellow flowers, is a medium to large shrub and also gives a good display of autumn colour.

Spring fragrant shrubs

One of the best spring flowering shrubs grown for its scent is Viburnum x burkwoodii. Semi-evergreen it has rounded heads of fragrant, tubular pinkish/white blooms from late winter to late Spring. Skimmia x confuse ‘Kew Green’ is a compact, rounded evergreen shrub with glossy leaves and fragrant cream flowers in spring. Magnolia grandiflora is a large evergreen shrub or small tree with huge highly scented cup shaped blooms during the spring. Perhaps more suited to a large garden. Ribes ‘Pulborough Scarlet’ has pendant deep red flowers amongst aromatic dark green leaves in spring. Lilac or Syringa ‘Charles Joly’ has highly scented purple/red blooms in late spring.

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Summer scented shrubs

Buddleia is a wonderful shrub for the garden. Not only are the tubular flower heads highly fragrant, they are also very attractive to butterflies, hence the common name ‘butterfly bush’. ‘White Profusion’ has sprays of white flowers that are produced throughout the summer, especially if regularly de-headed. Choisya or Mexican orange blossom has both scented flowers and leaves. ‘Sundance’ has yellow scented leaves and white flowers. It is best grown in the shelter of a wall, away from strong winds. Sambucus racemosa ‘Black Lace’ has black, feathery pungent leaves with creamy pink blooms in early summer. This shrub is stunning at the back of a perennial border.

Climbing fragrant shrubs

Lonicera or honeysuckle is a popular climbing shrub with highly perfumed flowers during summer. Almost as popular is jasmine with its tiny white or pink flowers and delicate scent, perfect for a sunny sheltered spot. Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ is an evergreen climber that flowers in early summer and has fragrant white flowers. Lastly, no summer cottage garden would be complete without the scent of a climbing rose. Rosa fruhlingsduft is a tough climbing rose with highly perfumed blooms of pale pink. Grow it in large garden planters placed in the middle of your herbaceous border or against a sunny wall.