Gracing the late winter, or perhaps early spring, with beautifully scented pink flowers, this Daphne was a pleasure to work around in a gorgeous cottage garden near Warwick. Quite a surprise bearing in mind the icy weather we’ve been having recently to see the flowers in such perfect condition.
The Daphne, meaning ‘laurel’ in greek, prefers a well drained but moisture retentive soil, so plenty of organic matter, we prefer spent mushroom compost. It really improves the soil either dug in or as a surface mulch and is one of the jobs we’ve been working on in gardens over the winter. Don’t apply when the ground is frozen but that isn’t usually a problem, although this winter has been harsher than many with the ‘Beast from the East’ blowing in and making our gardens in Warwickshire and Oxfordshire feel more like Siberia. Mushroom compost can be slightly alkaline but this is fine for most plants including the Daphne which actually prefers not to grow in an acid soil.
So along with the Hellebores and early spring bulbs it is nice to have a flowering shrub to add interest to the garden. A word of caution though, all parts of the Daphne are poisonous so treat with care, but its a price worth paying for those deliciously scented blooms at this time of year.