• Robert Blake

fragrant plants and shrubs


The Club’s June talk on fragrant plants and shrubs was given by George Lockwood from Enfield. He is a passionate gardener and runs an organic gardening business (www.gardenorganic.org.uk). He cantered through a wide range of plants that give off scents, most of which attract pollinators and are also pleasant for us to experience. A selection of these plants that flower at different times across the year are outlined below:


The Winter Flowering Honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima is a partially evergreen shrub with small white, strongly scented flowers from mid-December through to March. It will reach 1.8m but its size can be checked by removing a third of the shoots in late March/early April. Do not delay as next year’s flowers will be borne on the new growth from spring onwards. Plant it near a path where you can enjoy the scent.


Corylopsis pauciflora is a densely branched shrub that produces yellow flowers, scented like cowslips, on short drooping racemes in March and April. It should be planted in a sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade. Once again, any pruning should be done immediately after flowering.


Deutzia gracilis is an upright, bushy, deciduous shrub that grows to 1m. It produces fragrant, star-shaped flowers in May/June. Old flowering stems can be cut to ground level in July to encourage new growth. It likes well-drained soil in full sun or dappled shade.


Dicentra spectabilis (bleeding heart) is a hardy herbaceous perennial up to 0.75m tall. It has attractive red heart shaped flowers with inner white petals, borne on arching racemes in May and June.


Lavandula augustifolia ‘Hidcote’ is the well-known compact lavender with aromatic foliage and highly fragrant flowers in July/August. It is best grouped in clumps or along the front of a border for best effect and bees love it!


Callistemon linearis is a shrub with aromatic leaves and red bottle-brush spikes of flowers borne in July/August. Dead heading the flowers can result in repeat flowering in October/November.


Phlox paniculata is a compact herbaceous perennial that grows to about 1.2m and likes the same conditions as Deutzia. There are numerous varieties to choose from and the strongly fragrant flowers are borne in panicles from July to September. Dead flower stems should be cut down in October to just above ground level.


Abelia chinensis is a shrub that flowers profusely over a long period from July to October and is happy in most soils in a sheltered sunny position. It has reddish stems and leaves that turn to a bronzy colour in autumn.