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  • Shrubs that Make Scents in Winter

    There's nothing quite like opening the door on a late winter day to a decadent aroma coming from the garden. It heralds that spring is near and invites us outside to enjoy our gardens again. As we anxiously look for signs of spring, there are a few shrubs that are working overtime filling our gardens with beauty and fragrance.


    Daphne odora Winter Daphne is a small, mounding evergreen shrub with glossy green foliage. It grows to be 4 feet tall and wide. It has small clusters of pale pink or white blooms that typically appear between January and March. Plant Daphne in a partially sunny location with good drainage. The fragrance of a Daphne is like no other plant it is very strong and some describe it as vanilla-like. It can be smelled from a great distance. 


    Edgeworthia chrysantha Paperbush is a medium size shrub that truly offers beauty year-round. In spring and summer long bluish green leaves with silver undersides grace the long brown stems. In fall they turn a brilliant yellow. As soon as they drop the cream colored flower buds are revealed. They swell over the course of the winter providing a beautiful winter show. When they open to a bright yellow in late winter and early spring they emit an intoxicating fragrance. Edgeworthia grow 8 feet tall and up to 15 feet wide. Plant in partial shade in moist, well-draining soil.
    Hamamelis x intermedia Witch Hazel is a large and hardy deciduous shrub. It can reach 8 - 12 feet tall and wide. Witch hazels have large light green leaves that turn beautiful shades of reds and yellows in the fall. In late January through March fringe-like blooms appear along the stems in yellows, reds, and coppery tones which have a sweet fragrance. Plant Witch Hazel in full sun to part shade. The more sun it receives the more flowers it will produce. 
    Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun'Winter Sun Mahonia is a non-invasive variety of Mahonia. It is a medium sized upright evergreen shrub with holly-like foliage. In December through January it is topped with sprays of brilliant yellow blooms with a beautiful aroma. This hardy shrub has hardy blooms too - they are frost resistant.  Plant them in full to partial shade. 
    Osmanthus fragrans Fragrant Tea Olive is a large broad-leaf evergreen shrub growing 10-15 feet tall and wide. It has wide, glossy dark green foliage which is quite dense making this a great plant for screening. In late winter and early spring (and again late summer and early fall) the Tea Olive produces tiny white flowers that are intensely fragrant. The fragrance some describe as similar to a rose and gardenia mix. You won't find it necessary to get close to the bloom to smell it. Chances are you'll smell the Tea Olive before you get to the plant itself. Plant them in full sun to partial shade. 

    See more articles about: Winter, Shade gardening, Trees & Shrubs