Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sarcococca--Say That 5 Times, Real Fast!

EVERYBODY, WELL almost everybody, knows about Daphne odora, that fragrant delight that graces the February garden. But long before Madame Daphne takes the stage, my dear, sweet Sarcococca ruscifolia (or Sweet Box) is having its hay day. It starts blooming right after Christmas and continues throughout January. 


The flowers are diminutive and belie the fragrance they emit. Right now I've got about 7 stems in a container of water maybe ten feet away and the fragrance is to die for. 


As you can see from the above photo, my plant has grown to about 4 feet wide but only three feet tall in ten years. The plants thrive in dry shade and when they aren't blooming they make a nice structural evergreen. The only bugs I've ever seen on my plants are early honey bees! 


If I'm ever forced to leave my garden, one of the first plants I'd buy for my new garden would be Sarcococca. That is unless I'm forced to move to Siberia. Great Plant Picks, (more on this in a minute) says it's hardy in Zones 7-9 so Christine in Alaska, here's another reason to get yourself a heated greenhouse!  


No, my Snow Drops aren't blooming yet. It's just that I had this photo next to the Sarcococca in my files and I couldn't resist. 



Great Plant Picks, for those of you who don't know, is a fabulous resource to gather information on plants you're interested in growing. Although it is a website featuring plants specifically for Pacific Northwest gardens, it can benefit gardeners everywhere since it's all about detailing the cultural requirements for the best garden plants. Lots of nice photos too. Because this is a non-commercial site, you're going to get the real deal--facts written by unbiased horticulturists instead of salespeople. You gotta love that! 
As always, 

26 comments:

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

As it often happens, I am asking myself: Why there is no S. in my garden? I have dry shade! And I have a good nose, the best in the family (after two dogs)!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

You know I love Sarcococca too! Yours is really pretty and I can't wait til mine are that big. They are finally starting to look bigger. I was out in my back yard today and was enjoying their scent.
I love Great Plant picks website. A nursery near me puts the logo by the plants they carry that are on the list. I love that, it saves me wondering how they will do.

Alison said...

Mine has lots of flower buds but none are open yet. I just bought it this time last year, can't wait till it's bigger. I didn't realize they like dry shade, I'll have to try a couple more in other spots.

HeatherF1 said...

Of course I have mine in the wrong spot, just off of our back deck, hoping to enjoy the fragrance. It is definately going to outgrow that spot as it is already sharing space with a hellebore. : ( One other plant that will be moved, I guess!

danger garden said...

Just yesterday I buried my nose in blooming Sarcococca, heavenly! Unfortunately not in my garden...

Mindy said...

Shut up - I've totally been thinking about doing a post on mine. I was thinkin' about you the other day when I got a big ol' whiff and was gonna ask if you had one. I brought a few stems in about a week ago and they'll about knock ya over when they're fresh cut.

I thought of you today too, when I got home picking The Kid up from school. I walked up the driveway and peeked into the front yard and noticed a poor little daffodil with a bud, coming out from under a pot. I'm not a fall cleaner, so the yard is buried in leaves. I ended up grabbing the rake from the shed thinking, oh I'll just get the path to the door cleaned up. You know how that goes. I uncovered all the awakening front yard beds and discovered all the buried bulbs that are starting to show their heads. So exciting!

Baby probably wondered what in the world mama was doin' playin' in the dirt the day before giving birth, but it felt really good to get my hands dirty after being stagnant all winter!

Looking forward to all those spring posts!!!

Three on Grove said...

I am not familiar with the sarococca! I will have to check it out! You should do a post on the most fragment plants in your garden! (That is what I am shopping for this spring/summer) :)

Darla said...

Hell, I can't say it once!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Gracie girl I wish I could have this in my garden too !
I don't force bulbs indoors because we all have allergy problems .. but I so wish for the fresh fragrance of a wonderful plant once in a while here.
Hey it is warm and raining here .. I think we might be sharing similar weather ?
Already I am too annoyed with Y&R now ! hahaha
Joy : )

scottweberpdx said...

I was walking down the street the other day and caught of whiff of this as well...so nice!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I miss that scent, it was always the welcome back whiff we got in the beginning of our return to work at the greenhouse. It was lovely....so glad that you get to enjoy it, it's underrated.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Anna said...

It's not the saying of it quickly, 5 times or otherwise but the spelling of it that always causes me problems Grace. A most worthy plant and those small flowers pack a large punch scent wise. Our weather is coming from Siberia at the moment :)

MrsLittleJeans said...

Love those snow drops, and I will visit that site...need to surround myself with succulents! Have a great Wednesday Grace! xx

FlowerLady said...

I love wonderful scents that fill the gardens. Your Sarcococca is not something I've heard of or seen this far south.

Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

HolleyGarden said...

It grows in just the right zones for me! I'm going to be looking for this plant. I love that it stays small. And I appreciate the info on Plant Picks, too.

MulchMaid said...

I've been smelling Sacococca all over Portland but mine aren't quite there yet. I think it's because mine are in deep shade, and they always seem to lag. When they start, though, watch out!

Christine B. said...

I've often wondered who had success with those Sarco-thingys. Love the shine though. I've saw them at the Garden Show in Seattle a few years ago and just knew on sight that I could grow it. It's a sixth sense.

A heated greenhouse would be a dream on par with marriage to Prince Harry. Not likely to happen and my husband might feel inconvenienced and the poorer for it.

Christine in Alaska
Princess Subzero

Lona said...

Are you kidding girl! I can hardly say it once with a straight face let alone five times. LOL! I would love to smell the fragrance of it.Sounds divine.

Barbarapc said...

Just when I was feeling wonderful about our winter-less winter, I read about the stems from your garden in a vase that smell marvellous and I started to feel a little less wonderful. It's moments like this when I wish I had a heated greenhouse. Thanks for the tip on Plant Picks.

heather @ whats blooming this week said...

I was getting so excited about this plant (can say it or type it) as you described it's rambling growth, it's liking of dry shade, it's fragrance, it's glossy leaves. That is until I ready Zone 7-9. Oh well. I'll just have to keep coming back for more.

Aerie-el said...

I can say 'love it' 5 x! Heavenly!
Great Plant Picks, love it too!

Sissy said...

oh Grace, how wonderful to have that flowering right now!
I love those shiny leaves, but you're right, those flowers sure don't look like they could smell like much...
If it is blooming for you right now, it would surely die in my Tundra landscape!!

Garden seeds said...

Thanks for the post mate you have written it very well.

Wendy said...

interesting how they hold their little blooms under the leaves. I bet the fragrance is amazing!

linniew said...

I am writing the shrub's name on my 'find it' list, it looks awesome and being fragrant is so important. xo L

Kathleen said...

Dang ~ it's not hardy in my zone! No wonder I don't have it. I'd love to have something fragrant blooming near me right now tho! Lucky you.
I haven't been by in awhile but I keep thinking I have because of "seeing" you on Pinterest! Hope things are going well?