Do you have a dog whose constantly sniffing everything? I do. My dog’s sense of smell has gone through the roof! But here’s the thing, we are not canines but we still go crazy for good smells. I highly recommend planting fragrant plants in your garden to enjoy smells in all seasons. Take a look at some of the fragrant plants below for late winter/early spring here. These all grow fine in USDA zone 10, many can grow in colder zones too, so check for hardiness.
Ceanothus – California Lilac. Massive clusters bloom mostly in late winter and spring with this California native. Only some varieties are fragrant. Find ground covers, shrubs and trees with flower color ranging from white to deep blue, violet and pink. Ceanothus prefers sun and well drained soil, needing little water once established.
Wisteria – Deciduous vine that is hardy to 0 degrees F or less. This classic and favorite vine has fragrant flowers which emerge first without leaves in late winter early spring. Fragrant flowers are sweet, fruity and light. Grows to 20 feet. Plant in full sun. Water: moderate.
Daphne – If you want fragrance in early spring consider planting a Daphne. These are tidy shrubs valued for their very fragrant blossoms. Sun to light shade near the coast and part shade inland. Prefers well drained acidic soil. Water – moderate. Many varieties are hardy to 0 degrees F.
Actostaphylos – Manzanita. Only some varieties of Manzanita are fragrant. The one in the photo is a striking pink waxy bell shaped flowering shrub I spotted in Lake County, California. Many different types available from evergreen ground covers to shrubs and trees. Full sun. Well drained soils. Water- occasional to supplemental once established. Note: many are California natives.
Brugsmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’ – Angels Trumpet. Though not a good choice for a “Kid Friendly Garden” as all plant parts are poisonous if eaten – this lovely plant has eye-catching hanging trumpet flowers and hails from South America. ‘Charles Grimaldi’ blooms mostly in warmer months, but here it is blooming away early March in San Francisco. Flowers are fragrant. Hardy to 25 -30 degrees. Plant in sun to part shade. Water needs are moderate.
Magnolia doltsolpa – Fragrance that is to die for! This tree’s flower fragrance is spicy and magical and it’s so heavily scented that you’ll likely want to stop whatever you’re doing, and have a sniff.