Monday, January 14, 2008

Ready to burst into bloom



I'm fascinated by winter blooms. Over the past years, I've learned that gardening in the south is really a year-long event and everything doesn't necessarily close up shop in winter. Why did it take so long for me to notice this?

I've always loved camellias and have a lot of them in my garden but I'm still discovering other winter interest plants as well. The above photo is Daphne Odora which I bought on a whim at Home Depot two years ago. After I got it home, I looked it up in my books and did some research on the Internet (I always purchase the plants first and then worry about where it will go later) and read that it wasn't an easy plant to grow. Now wouldn't you know it has performed admirably in a location where a lot of other plants have died? This is an area behind my garage filled with hackberry trees and very dry soil. I'm still having a hard time deciding what to do with this area. I wanted a native woodland garden but the dry conditions are presenting difficulties to say the least. The daphne, however, gave me a few blooms last winter and look at it this week! It seems to be thriving in this area where I've lost numerous azaleas and camellias so I'm going to leave it just where it is.

11 comments:

  1. I also was lured by Home Depot two years ago to buy the same shrub. It seems to be growing slowly but steadily and is covered with buds, like yours is. I wonder if they are related, from the same grower's lot? Mine was purchased in Cleveland, TN.

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  2. Go figure. I am amazed at what will grow where.

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  3. Congratulations on your success with the lovely daphne, Phillip! Sometimes it's best not to read what "the books" have to say. Seems to me that I used to grow some plants perfectly well until I read that they weren't supposed to grow here.

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  4. Wow, an evergreen Daphne, I'm so envious ! Even the deciduous ones are difficult to grow here.

    Why not try a xeriscape
    ( translation : dry scape ) in the area by your garage. There are native Alabama plants that are also drought tolerant. Here's a website with a full-list of recommended Alabama plants that are drought-tolerant : www.trussville.com/tu/spotlight_xeriscaping.htm

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  5. Daphnes prefer acid soil, right? I doubt they'd live here!

    Your shrub looks so happy right where it is, Phillip... maybe you could use ground-layering or mound -layering techniques on your daphne to make one shrub into a group for that difficult spot.

    Happy Blooming Day!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  6. Daphne odora is indeed difficult. I had one at our last house, which I abandoned in bone dry complete shade under a huge live oak. It flourished--a beautiful tight hemisphere covered with scented flowers in January. It was always the scent that told me it was in flower. At our new place, with soil of the same pH, etc., I have killed 2 of them. I'm sure they like dry shade and almost neutral pH, but I haven't figured out what the x factor is.

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  7. I am truly envious. Does it have a strong scent? I have a small Carole Mackie but no flowers yet. I managed to kill a large Daphne a few years ago so have been reluctant to spend a lot of money again.

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  8. Does it smell as good as they say? I remember reading that they don't live that long.

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  9. Thanks for the photo Philip. I have been looking at that little guy in the garden for weeks now trying to figure out what it was. I purchased it, like many others, at Home Depot Landscape center last year before a drought hit and it has done wonderfully. Last year was our first in the south after 20 years in zone 5 and snow, so I have a whole lot of new things to try, and most I bury the tags alongside - but this little fella must have lost its tag somewhere along the way!
    Thanks

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  10. This does indeed have an amazing scent!

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  11. One of my favourite plants. They smell so amazing. On a cultural side the real trick with daphne is perfect drainage. Their root are very sensitive. At the nurseries that I have worked at I usually recommend to plant them high. About an inch or so higher than the soil line and then mulch the top. Yours looks really healthy. A testament to what a good gardener you are.

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