In a Vase on Monday. Scentsation.

Goodness, it’s cold. Every day we wake up to a frozen garden. The snowdrops are hanging their fragile little heads and looking so limp and dejected. Last January I filled  a vase with different snowdrops on the the 25th; winter blooms were abundant.  This year they are coming into bloom far too slowly and I am getting impatient, specially for the wonderful  scents which make a winter’s day so magical.

So this week, although some of them are still only in bud,  I have filled a little Chinese vase with some sprigs of the most fragrant winter bloomers. It seemed appropriate as most of them come from China. The lichen is there because I like lichen, it’s such a lovely shade of green and we need green in January.

Trying to decide which is my favourite scent is difficult as they are all gorgeous. I think probably Daphne bhloua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is the winner. I have it by my front door and it stops visitors in their tracks. The pink  buds are just beginning to open.


Next, a close second, comes Chimonathus praecox with yellow, waxy claw- like flowers with maroon centres. The common name ‘Wintersweet’ is very apt. It has a delicious spicy fragrance.

Coming in at number three is Sarcococca confusa , it spreads its scent far and wide around the garden on a sunny day. It is spicy and exotic. It is on the right of the above picture. It  has shiny evergreen leaves.

Number four is the gorgeous witch hazel, Hamamelis x media ‘Vesna’. It would have a higher rating if it was a little more generous with its sweet fragrance. You can only detect it when it is brought into the warmth.


I keep showing Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’ and its pretty, primrose- yellow racemes are still going strong. Mahonia ‘Charity’ has finished blooming, but this one will take us through the winter until in early spring, Mahonia japonica, the sweetest smelling of all the mahonias will be in bloom.

The winter scented viburnums are good value and even though we have had hard frosts the flowers haven’t gone brown this year. I think it is because this one, Viburnum bodnantense‘ Charles Lamont’ is sheltered by the huge walnut tree.
I have added a couple of buds of fragrant flowers which I hope will open in water. The winter honeysuckle Lonicera standishii is beautifully fragrant but frustratingly the buds are still tightly closed. Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ has pretty pink buds and when they open they smell delicious. On the left in the photo below, you can just make out my last fragrant flower. It is the  delicate, primrose, pea-shaped bloom of  Coronilla glauca ‘Citrina’.dsc_1066

For foliage I have used the variegated leaves of Pittospermum tenufolium ‘Irene Paterson’. I have added a couple of sprigs of catkins from a birch tree and that is my fragrant vase complete. Already the warmth of the room is bringing out the scents. Delicious!
Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden has decided to enjoy some fragrance this week. And her Lonicera standishii bloom has unfurled, unlike mine. Thank you Cathy, for hosting.

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45 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. Scentsation.

  1. Christina says:

    What a lovely mix of headily perfumed blooms you have for today Liz. I know Winter Sweet would grow here, I must get one NOW!

  2. Sounds like the scents are wonderful. I love the color mix and actually the lichen, which seems an unusual choice sets everything off perfectly. The Mahonias are amazing to me, I have not seen those varieties.

  3. Brian Skeys says:

    I haven’t noticed any scent in the garden this winter. We need some sunshine. The lichen is welcome due to its indication of clean air.

  4. I can only imagine how glorious a walk in your garden must be once the temperatures warm – I’m glad you can enjoy the scents of the garden in the warmth of the house in the meantime. I look forward to seeing my own Mahonia grow up, perhaps giving me some bright yellow scented flowers to bring inside next winter.

  5. homeslip says:

    I’m swooning Chloris. Daphne Bholua stopped me in my tracks several times at Wisley the other day, but Chimonanthus Praecox Lutea was not yet in flower. I have three clumps of sarcocca planted strategically in my garden and I am loving the waves of fragrance they send out along with the scented viburnum and Daphne odora. I really must think hard about whether Daphne B would fit into my front garden or maybe I could keep her in a pot and bring her into the limelight in January?

    • Chloris says:

      I am not sure that Daphne B would do in a pot. It grows quite tall and it is deep rooted so it is not really suited to pot culture. It is well worth finding a sunny spot for it, nothing smells quite so good.

  6. Cathy says:

    Gosh, what a cornucopia of fragrances – hard to imagine what the combination would be like. Winter bloomers and smellers certainly earn their keep, don’t they? There are only a few buds of that lonicera open, so pehaps yours is not far behind – and Budapest is meant to have a pink tinge to the flowers and these don’t so it may be misnamed, which would be a shame. None open on fragrantissima or Winter Beauty yet. Thnaks for sharing today, Chloris

    • Chloris says:

      Ah you have Budapest. Bluebell nursery? You are lucky living near such a fabulous tree and shrub nursery. Yes, the scents of the winter garden are divine.

      • Cathy says:

        Actually no, it was mail order from a nursery in the Lake District where I had tracked down something else I wanted that wasn’t readily available.

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    I envy you, with a vase full of these scented beauties! I would love to grow Sarcococca confusa but we are a tad too cold for it. 😦

  8. Cathy says:

    It’s a gorgeous mix Chloris, and a walk around your garden when the sun comes out must be a real delight, bringing out these scents too. Love the choice of the vase, as I think many of these plants are of Asian origin. 🙂

  9. Quel beau bouquet printanier ! Que du naturel 🙂 Belle journée

  10. Chloris says:

    Merci et belle journeé á toi Christiane. Elles sont toutes les fleurs d’ hiver et chaqu’ une a un parfum qui chante!

  11. Annette says:

    It’s almost as if the wind carries the scent into my study, Liz, just wonderful. My chimonanthus has also started to flower but as it’s still young, there are only a few buds. Jacqueline is tempting, maybe I should give it a try. My nursery friend tells me they don’t do too well around here but maybe in a shaded spot, we’ll see. Nothing beats tiny flowers and scent at this time of year – as Beverley Nichols used to say ‘Time to shrink’ 😉

  12. Beautiful vase transformed into a jewel box of color and fragrance. Would love to get a whiff of the Daphne. I’ve just arrived home to a few surprises, but the Chimonathus praecox is still closed tight.

  13. What a wealth of options you have. I can just imagine the fragrance!

  14. pbmgarden says:

    What a luscious treat of color and scent. Beautiful.

  15. Bodger says:

    Beautiful choice of perfumed winter treats. Botanical Barbara goes around my garden breathing on the rare January blooms, to make them release their scent. I don’t care if it causes the neighbours to talk.

  16. snowbird says:

    How lovely to have a scented vase at this time of the year. I loved it all, and the vase with the lichen, very artisitic!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Dina. You are going to be enjoying much more exotic blooms than this. I hope you get lots of photos. I am drooling at the thought of all the orchids you will see in Malaysia.

  17. What an exquisite blend of headily perfumed sprouts you have for now Liz…Sounds like the aromas are brilliant. I adore the shading blend and really the lichen, which appears an abnormal decision sets everything off flawlessly…

  18. Oh gosh, you’re lucky to have any winter bloomers at all! My garden is covered with snow once again. I must say, your arrangement and your vase are perfection–best combo I’ve seen this week!

  19. It must be scentfest at your house! A beautiful arrangement of winter winners.

  20. Dina says:

    Magnificent! I love this scentsation and your beautiful arrangements.
    Best regards, Dina

  21. Lavinia Ross says:

    A lovely winter bouquet, and I love the description of the scents. Our snowdrops were slow in emerging as well. They just came up this past week.

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