Thursday, March 5, 2009

Winter daphne

It's a shame that I planted the Daphne Odora (aka Winter Daphne) way out back behind the garage and next to the compost pile. Fortunately though, I frequent the compost pile often so I do admire its winter charms. From what I've read about Daphne's temperamental nature, I dare not move it.



As I mentioned in an earlier post, I came upon this plant at Home Depot two years ago and purchased it without really knowing anything about it. Chalk it up to pure luck that I planted it in a spot that it likes. And of all places, it is an area that still gives me headaches and I've yet come up with a satisfactory solution for it. This is an area behind our garage that is populated by a huge grove of mature hackberries. Very very dry and lots of shade. I can easily see why gardeners hate dry shade.

However, I'm learning what plants can tolerate dry shade and one of them seems to be Daphne Odora. Others include hellebores and epimedium. If you have other suggestions, do send them my way.




Because the ground is so hard here and the roots of the hackberry trees are quite invasive, I built a berm for the plants. This creates excellent drainage which is a must for daphne. It also means that the soil is even more drier. I've installed a drip system and this year I'm going to see if our plumber can hook us up a hydrant behind the garage.


The daphne seems to be oblivious to all these woes, however, and the fragrant blossoms have been blooming for weeks now.

27 comments:

  1. It looks great! Mine still won't bloom, the buds are there, they just won't open. I found mine at Home Depot too :) Much less expensive and it's growing very nicely.
    My pulmonaria seems to be doing well in dry shade, right by the hellebores.

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  2. Just got back from errands, including a stop at Lowes - smelled the Daphne before I saw it. I did a few hops of joy and snagged the best looking one, which didn't have any flowers, but I can wait. It was kind of spendy but I didn't want to wait in case I never saw it again. I've learned that in Alabama - snag it when I see it or I'll be sorry. Thanks for your previous post about the Daphne - it brought it to the front of my brain!

    Barbara

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  3. Sounds like this nortoriously fickle plant has a place it likes. Other dry shade plants that do well for me are Aucuba, Mahonia and Rhodea.

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  4. Hi Phillip

    Great close up of Daphne. This is a plant I had never really considered previously but now I'm well aware of its charms.

    Some Hypericum(s) will take dry shade.

    Rob

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  5. I always refer to Daphne Odora as my favorite miserable plant. The worst part is that just when you think it's doing beautifully, it up and dies for no known reason! Great plant for near the door, and it does well for a long time in a container, as long as there is drainage. A word of caution if you're buying at one of the big box stores:if it's rootbound in the pot when you buy it, it rarely recovers. Something else I've been using more of lately in dry shade are ferns, believe it or not. Eleanor Craig at Fern Ridge Farms is a real expert on ferns for this area, and has several that do well in dry shade (under trees in their native environment). Enjoy that fabulous daphne fragrance, though!

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  6. Wow, is Daphne a southern plant? Probably is since I have never heard of anyone trying to grow it here. It sounds and looks wonderful.

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  7. My daphne is still going strong, too. So fragrant and beautiful!

    Cameron

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  8. I think planting daphne in a obscure locale is exactly what it wants. I've got two plants, both thriving because I do absolutely nothing for them. No summer water, no pampering. The one thing I will do is cut a few stems every few days while they're in bloom. Indoors in a vase, there is no better "air freshener."

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  9. I've heard so many great things about this plant. I wish I could grow it in my area.
    Marnie

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  10. That's good info to know Phillip. It's so difficult to deal with that kind of situation in the garden. I've always wanted to try Daphne. Now you've given me the courage. :-)

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  11. Can't tell you how happy I was to find your blog, and when I have some spare time I'll read and savor your previous posts.

    I have no daphne (yet). We're cutting back on gardening expenses this year, so no new shrubs for me. Maybe next year. We have plenty of dry shade. Pulmonaria, winter honeysuckle, spotted dead nettle, mock orange and viburnum seem to thrive in it. Resurrection lily is also doing well. A new helleborus didn't survive last year - don't know why.

    PS. I'd love to know what kind of camera you use. Your photos are wonderful.

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  12. Hi Philip, pleased to meet Daphne odora. Our paths has never crossed before. Pretty little bush, is it fragrant?
    I wish you a lovely and sunny weekend in your garden.

    Take Care/ Tyra

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  13. C.C. and Tyra - thanks for stopping by. Tyra, it is intensely fragrant. C.C., I have a Nikon D50.

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  14. I envy you your Daphne. I'm still waiting on that perfect dry half shade spot. My parents have all dry dappled shade -- I bet a Daphne would love their yard. Drainage (plus symbiotic fungus) must be the key to growing Pink Lady's Slippers too. Those grow wild in my parents' yard, the only wildflower they have really.

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  15. I love the name Winter Daphne. Your snow photos below are so unexpected for a southern garden. How much fun to capture it!

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  16. Phillip, I bought one, too, just last month and it smelled divine, but really, I have no place in this garden for it! So to a container it must go and soon! I use Christmas Ferns in dry shade...They are evergreen, too. Cyclamen hederofolium is perfect for dry shade....really! I planted mine under hackberries and it is very happy....gail

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  17. That's a beautiful plant, Phillip. So I assume it'd grow in tropicals too, wouldn't it? If it does, I'd be excited, but again, I need to hunt around...
    Fragrant blooms always turn ON that bulb in my mind :D

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  18. I must live a colder zone...envy you. There's nothing coming up in my garden yet. It is funny that you got snow a short while back.
    Glad I stoped by. Thanks,Patsi

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  19. Wow, the Daphne is really cute! Rudbeckia do OK in dry shade, but they're kind of ordinary.

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  20. You cant beat the fragrance of Daphne odora.The fragrance is a cross between orange blossoms, gardenias, and lemons. Yours looks like it's doing great. The real trick with this plant besides partial shade is that it need perfect drainage. Here in the Pacific Northwest it does well (as long as planted high or on a slight slope. It's a shame that it not closer to the house to enjoy more. Yours looks like its very happy.
    All the best, Bob

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  21. Nice post about this interesting plant. If I ever come across one in a local nursery or whereever, I will certainly bring it home.

    Thanks for the info and growing tips.

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  22. Hi Phillip, I have the exact same bush bought at the same time at the same place. The leaves on mine look ratty tatty but it is in full flower, just like yours. I find the scent to be unusual, but pleasing, hard to describe, not really floral. To my nose anyway. You have named the best dry shade lovers, but I have had good luck with some larger perennials like Joe Pye weed and Rudbeckia lanciniata in the same environs. Good fall show with those guys and the butterflies love them.
    Frances

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  23. Saw this in full bloom in a customers garden yesterday. We will have to get one.

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  24. I loved the Winter daphne when i brought it home & planted it...(two years ago). It is one of the most expensive plants i have ever purchased for my garden. Last year, i barely got leaves - i'm hoping this year it might be established enough to bud out leaves & flowers - as they smell wonderful! Here in Washington State, i was told to plant it full sun...? the ground get's somewhat dry where it is planted....i'll have to watch it this year! I was also told not to move it once planted - as it's very finiky! we'll have to chat more!

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  26. Hello and thank you for this blog! I came across Winter Daphne whilst visiting Hearst Castle in San Simeon CA. I could not get over the lovely fragrance and had to know what it was. When the guide told me, I was determined to have it in my home. My question to you, before I go and spend a lot of $ on this fickle plant, is Will it grow in the desert climate of Hemet CA?

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  27. Hi Abicus, I'm afraid I don't know how it would perform in that climate. It is very different from ours. I would suggest that you contact your local extension agency and maybe they can give your advice.

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