Winter Daphne

Daphne odora ‘Aureo-marginata’ is a fragrant, small evergreen shrub with a finicky reputation. I first read about it in a local newspaper column several years ago and though the writer lavished loving praise on this plant, she also repeatedly mentioned its temperamental nature. It needs very little water and is in fact intolerant of soils with poor drainage. It can grow in full sun but does better with some protected, moderate shade.

Apparently, just as one thinks it is flourishing it may just die without warning. But walk near a daphne and the appeal is instantly understood. Known as Winter Daphne, this shrub produces rosy pink and white clusters of flowers in early winter when little else is blooming. What makes it irresistible though is the tantalizing scent it offers.  Daphne deserves to be placed along a well-travelled path where its rich fragrance can be enjoyed.

One daphne in this garden is from February 2009 and two more were added in March 2011.  They seem poised to open, though it seems too early.

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