With the darkest days of winter at an end, the new season greets us with the arrival of spring bulbs and flowering shrubs. Pots planted with those noted for their fragrance will lift your spirits further as they fill the air with sweet perfume. Place them in a prominent spot close to the kitchen door, windows or seating areas, then get up close, breathe in deeply and enjoy these spring treasures.
Spring bulbs are among the easiest plants to grow — plant them in the fall and simply wait a few months for them to burst through the soil. While many provide colorful flowers, some offer even better value with a beautiful scent. Hyacinths are highly fragrant and available in a wide range of colors, including white, yellow, pink, purple and red. Some muscari or grape hyacinths are also scented — choose the yellow Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’ for the best perfume. To complete your fragrant displays, add scented daffodils, such as the small-cupped jonquils and tazettas, and pheasant eyes.
Siting Your Plants
Flank your front door with pots of scented bulbs so that their fragrance greets you each time you enter the house. In the back garden, place pots on patios, close to paths, or by seating areas, raising them up on tables, chairs or window ledges to intensify their effect.
The spring shrub Viburnum x burkwoodii makes a fabulous centerpiece on a patio when grown in a contemporary gray stone pot. Evergreen in sheltered areas, its dense clusters of white, sweetly scented flowers will lift any container display. To prolong the interest, underplant with trailing plants, primroses, and evergreen grasses. Part of a large family of deciduous and evergreen shrubs, other viburnums worth growing for their scented spring flowers include V. farreri, V. x juddii, and V. carlesii.
Many daphnes are also renowned for their early scented blooms. Among the best are Daphne tangutica, which has pink tubular flowers and D. x burkwoodii, whose white flowers appear for a few weeks from late spring. Other fragrant shrubs to consider include Ribes odoratum, Osmanthus delavayi, and Euphorbia mellifera, a large evergreen with honey-scented flowers.