A couple of my scented shrubs have been giving me great pleasure over the last month or so – definitely scented gems!
My Coronilla glauca “Citrina” seems to have been flowering for ages! It started slowly, at the start of the year, and is now smothered in beautiful, lemon, pea-shaped flowers. They emit a lovely, fruity scent, that some people liken to peaches. I can detect fruit, but more vanilla. The whole plant is a thing of beauty, with glaucous blue leaves, that I can only describe as being like Ruta graveolens, the herb Rue, but without the scent. It is reputed to be slightly tender and is recommended to be grown against a wall for protection. Mine is freestanding, in our front garden, which is south facing and so is in full sun, which combined with our sandy, free-draining soil, seems to suit it so far – touch wood! It has quite a lax habit (maybe wall training would be the thing to do!) and so far, has not seemed to need pruning. I’ve just left it to do its own thing! It apparently can also be grown in pots – ideal for winter protection.
I bought my specimen a couple of years ago at the Malvern spring show – possibly my favourite show! It had been picked out on the “Gardener’s World” coverage of the show the previous night, so I just had to find it. And I’m so glad I did!
Daphne laureola is doing really well now, since I extracated it from the overreaching branches of its neighbouring Lonicera fragrantissima, when that was cut back a year or so ago. By contrast, it seems quite an understated shrub. Similar to my other winter favourite, the Sarcococca, it is a low growing, evergreen shrub with small, insignificant looking flowers. What sets it apart though, like the Sarcoccoca, is its magnificent scent – sweet and vanilla. And the clusters of small flowers, which nestle under the whorls of shiny, green leaves, are such an unusual, lime green colour – a subtle gem!
I must also include my Abeliophyllum distichum, although its flowering was short lived. It is also known as the “White forsythia”. Definitely much more subtle than its namesake, it has a similar habit, but the flowers are so much more delicate – white, flushed with pink – and scented to boot! Like Forsythia, the flowers appear on bare stems, before the leaves appear. It is best, grown supported, against a wall. Mine is growing in a large pot, supported with canes, in a sunny position. And again, minimum maintenance!
And after walking “round the estate”, I can see so many more gems just waiting to burst forth! What an exciting time of year!