It was a stunning day here yesterday- Holly and I had a delightful time in a local nursery collecting up an order for a client. Such a change from the chilly wet day on Wednesday that resulted in us drenched and frozen and still with a long drive back!
Clients sometimes ask why I choose my plants in person rather than just ordering them from a list as many people do. Over the years I have delighted in seeing in person the stunning range in quality, varieties, and sizes of stock available in the larger nurseries. It is always an inspiration and an opportunity to improve my planting. I have never in 12 years come back with exactly the plants I had intended to buy- which keeps me going out there in the rain!
I was delighted to find some really bushy specimens of Daphne odorata- hardly a surprise that they look good at this time of year, but unusual to find such good bushy stock as they are slow growing and always pricey.
I again purchased one for myself (as I do each time I find good stock) in the hope that this time I hope it will get as far as my garden before being side-tracked to a client.
With the most wonderful sweetly citrus scent this is a shrub for a place close to a sunny doorway where it will delight you each time you enter or leave. A trifle tender, Daphnes are best in the South of the country and ideally in a sheltered site, although I have found them very hardy in the last few difficult winters. Prone to die back, I would not prune other than taking a few sprigs to put indoors.
Daphnes are not bothered too much about soil Ph, but don’t like heavy clay soils and waterlogging. The advice is to plant in a humus rich soil and mulch well, although my experience, and that of the nurseryman I was discussing this with yesterday, is that they don’t like potting compost, particularly peaty ones. Good specimens are almost always in heavy pots (literally they feel heavier when you lift them). These have finer textured soil or compost so I try to replicate this outside with a loamy rather than peaty compost- although you do have to beware of waterlogging with this sort of material.