Best of the bunch
These colourful, scented shrubs are invaluable over the winter and in spring, providing backdrops for other plants when they are in flower and seasonal interest of their own at other times.
For large borders, V. x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’ is a musthave, its delicate pink flowers emitting a delicious scent from early winter to mid-spring. This upright shrub is ideally planted next to a sheltered path or entrance and is a valuable source of nectar for pollinating insects.
Other good varieties include V. davidii, which bears white spring flowers followed by metallic-looking, turquoise blue fruits on orange-red stalks. It’s evergreen, so at other times its veined dark green leaves are a great foil for other plants. Other types are semi-evergreen, such as V. ‘Eskimo’ which produces pom-pom clusters of pink-flushed buds opening to snow-white flowers in spring.
They’re easy to grow in well-cultivated soil and do best in full sun although they will tolerate some shade.