Picture Snob

April 18, 2011

I'm planting Daphne near the screened in porch

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A friend showed me a plant he loves which was planted by his wife several decades ago. It had sweet smelling flowers and shiney green leaves and after some exploration I learned it's name--Daphne. Daphne means laurel and was sacred to Apollo who chased a nymph of that name and to escape him, she turned into a laurel tree. There are many differenty types of Daphnes and they vary as to their flowering times.

Daphne's small clustered flowers are very fragrant and they can easily fill an entire garden with scent. Daphne blooms in mid-February. There is reason to be cautious about where you plant them. Some varieties are also pretty poisonous, and its flowers, leaves and berries should not be planted or kept near children or pets. The danger is similar to shrubs like azaleas and rhododendrons.

Daphne cneorum is called the 'Rock Daphne' ' because it is often grown in rockeries. This plant also does well and is very attractive in raised beds or border plantings and as a container plant. I think this is the showiest of all the Daphnes. The April and May rosy-pink flowers absolutely cover the plant, providing a massive flower display, that has a sweet, intense fragrance.

Daphne odora is one of the most popular varieties. It has a bushy growth habit, eventually attaining a height of up to 3 or 4 feet and, if crowded, occasionally taller. In the Pacific Northwest where I am this plant often begins flowering in late February or early March and may continue into April.

Daphne retusa is another nice dwarf variety of evergreen Daphne. The whitish to rosy-purple flowers are fragrant. It's flowers are not as bright as the others, and it may be a little more difficult to find.

Daphnes benefit from an application of lime at planting time. Dolomite lime is especially beneficial because of the sulfate of magnesium it contains. If pruning is needed, the best time is right after they have finished flowering.

I'm hoping by putting Daphne by the screened in porch, the fragrance will waft though the porch and into the house.

At Spirea Daphne

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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at April 18, 2011 3:21 PM
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