Gardening: Making scents of a plant survey

THE UK’s Royal Horticultural Society recently invited its members to list their favourite scented plants for each season

Thousands of online entries poured in for “Scents of the Seasons” as members rated their favourites from one to five stars.

I have only listed here one or two of the top-rated plants for each season. Five stars represent the highest rating for a plant that carries its fragrance strongly in the air; four stars if the fragrance is detectable at a distance and so forth to one star for only a minor fragrance

Starting with spring, three plants received the top five-star rating – Wisteria floribunda, with its heady fragrance of honeyed fruity fragrance; Rhododendron lutea with its rather exotic scent and Viburnum burkwoodii.

For autumn, only one plant out of 15 listed rated five stars. This was Clerodendrum bungei, a small deciduous plant with its strong fruity, heady fragrance and bright orange flowers. I noticed some of these in stock at the Heritage Nursery in Yarralumla last week.

And for winter, the long-flowering Daphne bholua with its sophisticated, clove-tinged perfume, received five stars. This is one of my favourites with ours reaching three metres tall.

The next winter favourite with four-stars was Sarcococca confusa, a small compact evergreen shrub with honey-scented flowers.

While these ratings were in Britain, all the listed plants are available and grow well in Canberra.

LANYON Homestead, in conjunction with Open Gardens Australia, will hold its annual plant fair, 10am to 4pm, on the weekend of March 22-23. An amazing collection of plants from bulbs to trees plus garden art and more will be offered for sale. Remember autumn is planting time. Entry is $10, which includes all the talks, walks and exhibitions.

REGRETTABLY, the free CIT Plant Clinic at the School of Horticulture has been discontinued because there were too few inquiries to sustain the service. The long-running clinic answered plant problems for home gardeners as well as being part of student training.

THE largest garden show in the Southern Hemisphere, the spectacular Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, will be held from Wednesday, March 26 to Sunday, March 30, in the grand Exhibition Building and surrounding grounds. I have been a regular visitor and it just seems to get better and better each year. More information at

WHOOPS! A glitch on my computer messed up the updated information sheet “Growing vegies for a healthy life” on my website. For example, you cannot plant pumpkin seeds now! All fixed now, at, click “Cedfacts” on the homepage and scroll to the revised version.


• Bulbs ready for planting are arriving at garden centres now.

• Check out the newly expanded Heritage Nursery in Yarralumla. It has taken over the Yarralumla Nursery retail garden centre next door.

• Lightly prune Star Jasmine to keep it under control.

• March is the time to prune conifers, but go easy with the hedge trimmers to not cut into the old wood, from which it will not regrow.

• Trim the old flowers off lavender and cut slightly into the old wood.


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