last updated 31/10/2014


A wonderful genus of small evergreen shrubs. Those offered below all flower in the winter, from December through to March, when the delicious fragrance and pretty cream flowers are most welcome. They will grow in almost any soil and will tolerate heavy shade or full sun. Try them as a low hedge or in the border. They are also extremely effective grown in a tub - they can be tucked away in summer and brought to prominence once in flower to brighten up the winter patio or doorstep.

No garden should be without them! Last year's fruit remain as the new flowers begin. Lovely.

Small shrub of dense suckering habit. White flowers with prominent cream stamens in winter contrast dramatically with the deep glossy green leaves. The fragrance on a mild day is second to none! Black fruits. 

Sarcococca hookerana digyna SARCOCOCCA hookeriana var. digyna 'Purple Stem'
Slender erect and dense habit with purplish stems and narrow leaves. The lovely fragrant flowers are also tinged pink, making this one quite distinct. Black fruits.

NEW SARCOCOCCA hookeriana var. digyna 'Schillingii'
Collected by Tony Schilling in Nepal, this narrow leaved clone is particularly floriferous. The highly scented white flowers in Feb-April (later than most of the genus) are prettily tipped with red-purple. Roy Lancaster kindly gave me this one when sorting out our nomenclature.

SARCOCOCCA hookeriana var. hookeriana 
My thanks to Roy Lancaster for sorting out the naming on this one for me! It is a superb small shrub with longer, narrower leaves than many and a wonderful dense, tidy habit. Flowers and fragrance just after Christmas as per the norm.

NEW SARCOCOCCA hookeriana var. humilis 
This is perhaps my favourite, being dwarf at 60cm tall, and densely branched. Pink tinged flowers and superb scent.

SARCOCOCCA orientalis 
Discovered in China as recently as 1980 by Roy Lancaster, this is a strong upright small shrub with stout green shoots. Leaves to 9cm long. White flowers sometimes tinged pink and equally fragrant. Black berries. An impressive new addition to this superb genus. I find it quite remarkable that there are still new plants to be discovered.

An uncommon form, with broader, thick leaves. Flowers as the others. Bright red berries. I picked some of this for Christmas and it looked delightfully festive.

SARCOCOCCA ruscifolia 'Dragon Gate' 
I am really taken by this new addition to our range of this "must have" genus! It has a much smaller leaf than even S. hookeriana var. humilis and grows accordingly into a very compact little shrub. Still the same wonderful scented flowers though. Be aware that these plants will be small when you get them because it is less vigorous! It was collected by Roy Lancaster in 1980 in the Western Hills above Yunnan in China. It was growing close by the Dragon Gate, an ornamental entrance to an ancient temple complex. 

NEW SARCOCOCCA ruscifolia var. chinensis 
Although a variety of S. ruscifola, this delightful evergreen is low growing; but it covers the ground by virtue of almost horizontal branches rather by suckering. Red berries follow the typical richly scented flowers.

A small shrub with erect stems and very long (to 13cm) narrower leaves. Greenish white flowers with less scent than some of the others. However, it does flower earlier than the others we offer, thus extending their season. Definitely worthwhile to grow in addition to some of the others.

NEW SARCOCOCCA wallichiana BSWJ2291
Collected from Northern India on the border with Sikkim by the Wynn-Jones', this is a taller grower, potentially to 1.8m. Small clusters of highly fragrant greenish-white flowers appear amid relatively large elliptic long-pointed bright green glossy leaves in mid-late winter, followed by ovoid black fruits. Good on chalk provided adequate moisture is retained.

A member of the Iris family, this little perennial is delightfully easy to grow, spreading gently to form a tidy patch of broad grass-like leaves. The flowers remind me of a small gladioli, but these are a beautiful red in colour, produced over a long season from mid summer through August - which is fantastic because there are never many flowers around at that stage.

The substantial upright, straight stems clustered with short branches give a neat, columnar appearance though this wonderful clump forming bamboo is one of the tallest, most majestic species. It is extremely hardy so is perfect both as an exceptional specimen plant or as screening to 5m. Thus neatly completing my triumvirate of magnificent bamboos, with black, yellow and now green culms.

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