We have five different cultivars of lilacs, including my favorite, Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’, which has dark purple petals with white picotee edges. Kylee Baumle/Paulding County Progress
We have five different cultivars of lilacs, including my favorite, Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’, which has dark purple petals with white picotee edges. Kylee Baumle/Paulding County Progress
I love this time of year because of its assault on my senses after enduring another long and dreary winter, where shades of gray, brown and white rule the days. The only hint of green is in the spruces, pines, or other evergreens that are scattered around the landscape. But spring…

As I walked around the yard today, I was struck by the kaleidoscope of colors staring me in the face everywhere I looked. I’m not talking about the lovely spring ephemerals, but the foliage. So many shades of green, from warm to cool and everything in between. And pinks and reds and golds, sometimes all on the same plant.

And if that wasn’t enough to lift my spirits, the scents wafting through the air took me even higher. Just as our sense of smell enhances the flavor of our food, it makes our spring experience all the sweeter, and if you don’t have any fragrant flowers or shrubs in your landscape, here are a few of the best.

Viburnum – There are a number of viburnums that make great shrubs, but they don’t all have that distinctive spicy, heady fragrance. If you want those, which have just finished blooming here, you need Viburnum carlesii, commonly known as Korean spice.

Another fragrant variety is Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’, which is the one I have. Viburnum judii also provides fragrant spring blooms. If you’re shopping for one and it’s not in bloom at the time, just ask your local garden center for a variety with a strong scent.

Daphne – I’ve talked about daphnes before and how finicky they can be, but when they’re happy, they’re stunning, not only because of their variegated foliage, but also because of their fragrance. Though not as strong as viburnums, it’s a similar scent, and it’s enough to make you want to bury your nose in its blooms for a bit. Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’ is a good one.

Sweetshrub or allspice – Calycanthus spp. have unusual burgundy blooms with an equally unusual fragrance. Some begin blooming as early as April, but mine is opening now. Depending on the variety, some thrive in shade, while others perform best in full sun. When happy, they can sucker, so they make a great hedge. If you have one, I’d love to know what you think they smell like – apple cider, strawberry, pineapple, or banana? Oh, and their leaves are fragrant when you crush them, too.

Fothergilla – This spring bloomer has white bottlebrush blooms that appear just before the foliage begins to leaf out. They smell like honey! This one is also drop dead gorgeous in the fall, when its leaves turn orangey-red, after being a bluish-green all summer.

Lilac – This goes without saying, right? Spring isn’t spring without a bouquet of lilacs in the middle of the kitchen table. Years ago, people planted a lilac shrub near their front or back doors so their guests would have something nice to smell as they entered their homes, or at least that’s what I’ve heard. There are so many varieties of lilacs out there and some have a stronger fragrance than others, but they all smell enticingly splendid. If you garden in a small space, look for ‘Miss Kim’, which is a dwarf variety. Bloomerang® is a dwarf rebloomer.

It is with caution that I mention lily-of-the-valley here. Unquestionably, it is a highly fragrant flower and I await its bloom every spring. Its essence is used in some of the finest perfumes. It makes a great ground cover, but it can easily take over an area in a short amount of time, so make sure you have enough real estate to accommodate it.

Many people dislike its invasive trait, but its fragrance may make up for its bad behavior. Convallaria majalis var. rosea has pink flowers, and if you can find the variegated variety, it’s much slower to spread with foliage to die for.

Read more at Kylee's blog, Our Little Acre, at www.ourlittleacre.com. Contact her on Facebook or by email at pauldingprogressgardener@gmail.com.