Winter Scent: Viburnum Bodnantense ‘Dawn’

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Last week I photographed a winter-flowering clematis growing up a shrub that flowers at the same time. This week I thought I’d show you what the flowers of that shrub (Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’) look like.

As you can see, the flowers are small and not exactly spectacular. They do however, look very pretty on the bare branches of the shrub and provide some good colour on a winter’s day. After frost or snow some of the older flowers will be browned and dying, but the newly-opened flowers and buds keep going and can last over a long period.

One of the main reasons I planted this viburnum wasn’t for the flowers, but for the scent. I’d come across it in a park in winter and had been entranced by its sweet fragrance. For the first years with my own one, I’d been disappointed by an apparent lack of scent. (But I don’t have a particularly strong sense of smell, so I thought I could be at fault.) I wondered whether individual shrubs could vary in the amount of scent they produced.

This year I was very pleased to find that my viburnum does indeed produce scent. At the moment it has far more flowers than ever before, so their sweetness has been noticeable in the air. Getting up close to the viburnum while I photographed the clematis in its branches was a very pleasant experience. There are some delightful benefits to spending time in a cold winter garden!