Fragrant Spring - flowering Shrubs
First let's agree when the gardening spring starts and stops.
I will go with March 1st - St David’s Day, as I am Welsh and
also because that is when the meteorological calendar starts -
with a finishing date of May 31st. We generally like to divide
the seasons into 3 monthly periods. It may well feel like spring
for the odd day in February, but as far as gardening seasons are
concerned, most of us will have learned that nature has a sense
Most of the spring flowering scented shrubs mentioned in this section
will fall outside the accepted mainstream spring shrubs, for generally
they have little or no scent.
So, the normal selection of Forsythia and
Ribes etc. - although great spring flowering shrubs - do not have enough
- if any - fragrance to be included in this list.
Some spring flowering fragrant shrubs which worthy of inclusion have
been left out for they are better described as winter scented – another
article – though many tend to hang about into early spring.
bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is not the easiest for shrubs to
take close-up photos of. Reason being that everyone wants a close-up
sniff! But, one of the easiest of the Daphnes to grow, and deep
purplish pink flowers simply exude fragrance at any time of the day.
A superb choice for a single spring flowering scented shrub
one is evergreen.
x bodnantense Dawn - Other
mistakenly called this, but if you get the correct one, has dark
pink flowers eventually fading to white.
Fragrant from the time
the buds open until faded. Spring flowering here as that is when the
buds are fully openr, but will have tight clusters as in the image
for late winter also.
Best scent in mornings or evenings.
x burkwoodii is reliably scented through spring with its fragrant
clusters of white tubular flowers. Evergreen.
and open shrub with evergreen glossy foliage - sometimes
Always reliable BUT can get hit by late spring
frosts - rarely
humilis is the best Sarcococca for me with good glossy
evergreen foliage on an upright medium shrub, having small tubular
pink white flowers that pack an amazing punch as far as fragrance is
concerned. Late winter going into early spring - just about makes it
for inclusion in spring-flowering shrubs.
Sarcococca confusa is
also a good contender with white flowers borne in profusion
mollis – Knap Hill Hybrids in particular – have amazing scent not
normally found in other ‘rhododendrons’ - for technically they are
rhododendrons. Deciduous with good autumn colour for the foliage,
but it is the gorgeous scent that qualifies them for listing here.
Late spring with wide range of flower colours, I always find the
yellows are the stronger scented of the
glabrescens is perhaps the best of the Corylopsis for scent – rather
Has a wonderful display of pendulous pale yellow
flower clusters in early spring. It is best grown as a large shrub
in a woodland garden – sheltered from frosts - where it will make a
spectacular fragrant spring flowering shrub..
armandii is our climbing shrub which has pure white scented flowers
in early spring – rather than winter.
Evergreen dark green
palmate leaves makes it doubly attractive.
armandii the evergreen Clematis will grow in any situation -
part sun or full shade
- Lilac - has heady scent in mid spring with masses of showy,
fragrant, tubular flower clusters– albeit for a short time. For the
remainder of the year, rather bland, but as we are talking fragrance
or scent, well worth a mention for this time of year. Lilacs are
large deciduous shrubs, with a few dwarf types that are not as
scented. The pure white Syringa
vulgaris ‘Mme Lemoine’ is amongst the best, but most are
x burkwoodii AGM also known as Osmarea is from the same family as
the Syringa (Oleaceae) but evergreen, and having pendulous racemes
of white very scented flower mid to late spring. Large shrub with
drooping branches weighed down with masses of white flowers.
Downwind, the fragrance will attract - so heady.
distichum - The White Forsythia - is another member of the Oleaceae
family with the typical tubular flowers opening to star-like blooms.
Very fragrant spring flowering shrub – flowering on bare branches,
best against a sunny wall – though not a climber as such. It has
white or palest pink flowers.
hardly needs description as a noble climbing shrub. Unless you are
the proud owner, very few realize that it is scented – mainly
because it is grown as a house wall shrub and not therefore within
easy sniffing distance!
Wisteria sinensis types are for spring scent, whereas Wisteria
floribunda is more early summer.
There are also several other shrubs which could be mentioned here if
I were not to do a ‘winter-scented’ version – such as
Mahonias - which
often last well into spring, and the
Witch Hazels to mention