The Myth About Winter Daphne Is True

A year ago, I was so proud of my success in growing winter daphne. She started blooming in December and kept on going through February. She was gorgeous. She was fragrant. Her elegant limbs were overloaded with beautiful, pink blooms. She was only three years old.

There is a gardener's myth that says that if your winter daphne is blooming beautifully, do not tell other gardeners. Whatever you do, don't invite another gardener over to see your daphne. She will succumb to what is known as "Daphne Death."

On a beautiful day this summer, I noticed that my Daphne was her beautiful evergreen self, gently nestled beside her shady companion, sweet bay magnolia. Perfection! She was so happy. I started thinking about planting another daphne to keep her company this winter. Daphne is such an easy keeper. She doesn't want extra water or food. Daphne is evergreen and deer resistant, important attributes for my fragrance garden.

That same summer day, I got an email from an expert on gardening. It was The Grumpy Gardener (Southern Living Magazine) asking if he could come visit my deer resistant flower garden.

A few days later, I was on the phone with Grumpy as I walked around the garden telling him what would be in bloom for his upcoming visit. Then, I saw HER. I told Grumpy what was happening.

I tried to stifle my dismay, disappointment and outright pain. I didn't want to cry on the phone. Daphne was literally shriveling up before my eyes.

By the time Grumpy arrived in mid-July, poor little daphne was brown. She was dead. The myth is true.

If you decide to grow a beautiful, sweet daphne odora, please don't tell another gardener. Skip past her when you have visitors. Don't blog about her and don't post pictures of her. She wants to be ignored!

Words and photo by Freda Cameron


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