x-Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna
Sarcococca are one of those understated shrubs that can go almost unnoticed all year until the day they burst into subtle bloom and start belting out their sweet, captivating fragrance.
Flowering from December until March this wonderful shrub is perfect planted by the edge of a path or close to the front door, anywhere that its incredible vanilla scent won't be missed.
With its slender, deep green, glossy leaves, pink flushed thread-like flowers, and heady scent, Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna is one of the most attractive sarcococcas and is a tough, reliable plant that is very easy to grow.
It loves shade, thriving in some of the trickiest spots in the garden, even the dry, rooty spots beneath trees, where little else will survive, is not fussy about soil, happy in acid or alkaline soil and is capable of tolerating air pollution and neglect - it truly is the answer to many gardeners prayers.
It will grow in sun, but why would you when you can grow something more choosy there - save this obliging plant to lift your more difficult spots.
Like true box it is a neat, evergreen plant, but unlike box has the added bonus of pretty thread-like flowers followed by the shiniest black berries, plus it doesn't suffer from blight, a problem dreaded by many box growers.
S. hookeriana var.digyna is ideal as neat, clipped edging for borders and paths but also works well in containers. It needs little pruning but can be lightly trimmed in late winter and early spring to keep it in shape. Follow with a thick mulch of compost around the base.