Plant of the MonthDaphne odora 'Aureomarginata'
Photos: Stuart Senior, 2 March 2014
‘Jacqueline Postill’, raised by Hillier master plantsman Alan Postill and named after his wife, is probably the most commonly planted Daphne in the U.K. but there are a number of other species and cultivars that are equally garden worthy. This month we shine the spotlight on Daphne odora
From China and Japan, D.odora
is a rounded, evergreen shrub, typically 1m x 1m, with inversely lance-shaped to narrowly oval, leathery, glossy, deep green leaves, to 8cm (3in) long. It bears very fragrant, deep purple-pink and white flowers, to 1.5cm (1/2 in) across, in terminal, sometimes axillary clusters of 10-15 or more, from midwinter to early spring. These are followed by fleshy, spherical red fruit. D. odora
‘Aureomarginata’ AGM has leaves with narrow, irregular yellow margins, and red-purple flowers, paler and sometimes almost white within.
Two other Daphnes are also doing very well this year. The first, shown below is D. bholua
‘Limpsfield’ and it is particularly noteworthy because the foliage is less dense than other taxa and so the flowers are more prominent. For me it makes a fast growing narrow erect plant, currently at 1.5m.
And finally, for those with a Somerset pre-disposition, we have D. x burkwoodii
'Somerset'. It forms a rounded bush up to a meter high. Mine is extremely tidy in habit with an almost candelabra branch structure. The narrow green leaves frame the clusters of 10 or more pink buds. Although it looks delicate and dainty, it's actually one of the hardiest, toughest Daphnes of all. It is a seedling from a hybrid cross between D. cneorum
and D. caucasica
first made by Arthur Burkwood some 70 years ago.