Lonicera fragrantissima, the Winter-flowering Honeysuckle, is a Chinese species that is related to the well-known climber Honeysuckle. This plant, however, is a medium-sized, bushy, deciduous shrub that grows around two metres tall. It has mid-green leaves throughout the season, yet its most striking feature is its beautifully fragranced cream flowers which are 1cm long and appear in mid-late winter. Occasionally these are followed by dull red berries. It is very attractive to bees, even in winter.
A member of the Caprifoliaceae family, it can be seen growing in the gardens of Harris Manchester College. It is generally quite hardy and is happy on a reasonably exposed site. It can also be grown as a wall shrub in full sun or partial shade. It works very well planted near to a door so you can enjoy the scent during winter. It needs pruning in early spring after flowering to keep it in good shape. Propagate with greenwood cuttings in the summer or hardwood cuttings in the autumn.