May 15, 2011

Daphne, like a fragrant bit o' the Alps, in your own back yard.

Daphne hendersonaii 'Ernst Hauser', a tiny shrub that was buried under snow and crushed this past winter....still, it seems to have recovered. Situated at the base of a stone wall which runs along the side of our greenhouse, perfect for many alpine plants, it is challenging for shrubs since winter snows fall and slide off of the greenhouse roof and often crush any shrub. Designed for high elevation conditions, most Daphne can handle such treatment, with flexible stems, most survive. 

Daphne x 'Schlyteri', growing in an alpine trough. It's flowers are a very rich honeysuckle pink.
Alpine Daphne species and named clones are some of the most special and choice of evergreen shrubs. Sadly, they are hard to find at any nursery, but they should be sought out for they are perfect for containers, dwarf plantings of shrubs an in alpine troughs and gardens. But even if you are not an alpine plant enthusiast, Daphne offer extraordinary aesthetic touches for most of the year, with fragrant spicy scented flowers in spring, shiny, dense mounds of foliage that will have every visitor to your garden asking you about what that gorgeous mini Rhododendron is, and they even have berries ( which are poisonous or toxic) in the autumn. Daphne are generally early bloomers, and their scent is often so strong, that on an April or May day they may have you looking for Asiatic Lilies ( Casa Blanca type) since they smell very similar.  Try ordering some from an alpine mail order source, ( like my friend Harvey's site) they will come in tiny 2 inch pots, but will mature in only  a few years into a one - two foot diameter small shrub that you will never find at a nursery.
A young plant of Daphne X 'Lawrence Crocker', only three years old, and already nearly 11 inches in diameter.

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