This scent of this evergreen shrub fills the air along the Middle Walk.
Belonging to the olive family (Oleaceae), the genus Osmanthus comprises approximately 20 species of evergreen shrubs from Asia, the Pacific Islands and the southern United States. They are ideally suited to woodland settings, where they can grow to make good evergreen backdrops, but some can be wall-trained, and others can be grown as hedging or topiary, including this one. O. x burkwoodii is a hybrid of the Chinese O. delavayi, which has delicate, finely toothed leaves, and the Caucasian and Turkish O. decorus, whose leaves are narrow and pointed. Raised in the early twentieth century by the Burkwood and Skipwith Nursery of Kingston-upon-Thames it has slightly toothed, glossy foliage and produces fragrant, white terminal and axillary clusters of tubular flowers in mid-late spring.