Magazine article Sunset

Daphnes Perfume the Garden

Magazine article Sunset

Daphnes Perfume the Garden

Article excerpt

This month, daphnes start to perfume Western gardens. Here we describe four kinds prized for their fragrant flowers. In mild-winter areas, shop nurseries for these shrubs now. In cold-winter areas, order daphnes for spring planting; two excellent mail-order sources are Forestfarm (541/846-7269 or www.forestfarm.com) and Greer Gardens (800/548-0111 or www.greergardens.com).

Once established, daphnes tend to grow steadily and evenly, so no major pruning is needed. A snip here or there is usually all you need to keep errant branches under control. Do this while the plant is in bloom, so you can take the cut stems indoors. (Note: All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested.)

RELATED ARTICLE: Winter-blooming kinds

February daphne (D. mezereum). Deciduous. Sweetly scented, reddish purple flower clusters are borne along naked branches from February to April. This somewhat gawky shrub grows 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, Plant it in front of fine-textured evergreens or tuck one among broad-leafed evergreens. Full sun or light shade. One of the hardiest daphnes, to -20[degrees]. Sunset climate zones 2-7, 14-17.

Winter daphne (D, odora). Evergreen. Intensely fragrant flowers, pink to rose outside with creamy pink throats, appear in February and March. The species has glossy green leaves to 3 inches long. 'Aureo-marginata' has yellow-edged leaves. Noted for its neat growth habit, the shrub reaches about 4 feet tall (sometimes 8 or 10 feet) and 6 feet wide. …

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