Spring heralds the awakening of the garden and infuses it with familiar, joyful fragrances
Spring marks the beginning of warmer weather, longer days and an awakening in the garden. Buds and blossoms push open, buzzing pollinators descend and most of us associate this time of year with the fragrance of certain plants.
For me, the tell-tale sign that we’re emerging from the colder winter months is the blossoming of jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum). It’s the quintessential spring fragrance and literally fills the air of my neighbourhood with its heady, sweet scent. Trailing over walls or along fences, jasmine flowers abundantly, albeit it briefly, and is a must in any spring garden.
My other association with spring is wisteria, with each of my childhood homes having had a pergola covered in this vigorous deciduous climber. It bursts into life in early spring, bearing fragrant, drooping clusters of pea-shaped flowers in shades of lavender, bluish-purple, mauve and white. I’m struck by how many clients specifically ask me for wisteria to recreate this shared memory of a purple spring canopy.
Then there’s the fruit blossom. Apart from the plum, peach, pear and apple blossoms that fill the orchards at this time of year, the garden of my childhood on a farm in Elgin was filled with crab apples and flowering cherry almond blossoms.
Spring is short-lived, but it’s worth adding one of these plants to your garden to capture the moment we say goodbye to winter. Whether in a pot or in the garden, these shrubs put on a show around September and October depending on where you reside in the country. Some of them continue flowering into the summer months, but the first spring flush is very often the most impressive.
SPRING FLOWERING SHRUBS
Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata)
Yesterday, today and tomorrow (Brunfelsia pauciflora)
Cape May (Spirea cantoniensis)
Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
Snowball bush (Viburnum opulus)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Deutzia (various species)