Grow Scented Winter Flowers
Winter scent may seem harder to achieve but there are some wonderfully fragrant winter flowering plants.
Shrubs such as chimonanthus, (Winter sweet), Viburnum bodnantense and witch hazels (Hamamelis) all these shrubs bear their blooms on bare branches and their perfume can easily fill a garden.
Sarcococca (Winter or Christmas Box) hides its tiny, but strongly scented, white blooms underneath glossy evergreen leaves, a trick shared by some autumn flowering Eleagnus x ebbingei varieties such as ‘Gilt Edge'. It's often hard to tell where the lovely vanilla scent is coming from. You can normally smell the perfume well before you spot the plant responsible!
The very fragrant winter flowers of Algerian Irises (Iris unguicularis) are easier to locate, looking just like a pretty summer iris and thriving on poor often stony soils in sun; they always make a huge impact in winter. ‘Mary Barnard' and ‘Walter Butt' are two of the best, both have Awards of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society ( AGM); this means they are excellent garden plants that flower reliably and are easy to find.
If you've set your heart on a particular plant the RHS Plant Finder is published in paperback every year and is also available online. It lists perennials (but not annual plants) with their correct botanical names and also includes information on specialist nurseries.