Fabulous Spring Fragrance – Osmanthus x burkwoodii – and a local Kingston-upon-Thames nursery story



A very useful evergreen shrub, with neat glossy leaves and masses of white, highly fragrant, sweetly scented flowers in early Spring.

In sun or part-shade, growing 6′ tall and through (though with judicious pruning after it has flowered, it can be kept more compact).

The species name burkwoodii appears against several plants – and refers to Arthur (1888-1951)  and Albert (b 1890) Burkwood. As young men, the Burkwood Brothers trained with established nurseries such as Veitch and Dickson’s, going on to found their own nursery, in Kingston upon Thames, with GR Skipworth in 1928.

Their speciality was breeding improved versions of certain shrubs and they prided themselves especially on new forms of evergreen Ceanothus and broom. Many hybrid shrubs they raised bear their names – Ceanothus ‘Burkwoodii’, Cytissus ‘Burkwoodii’, Daphne x burkwoodii (which has a cultivar ‘Albert Burkwood’ named after its breeder), and Osmanthus x burkwoodii. Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘ Park Farm Hybrid’ is named after their nursery.

A note from the Kingston Horticultural Society Newsletter –

Click to access Newsletter-Summer-2013.pdf

and a very useful biography site for ‘plant people’ that I for one, will be looking through…


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