As always these are in their order of appearance on the usual tour through the Garden, not in the order of importance.
As we enter the Perennial Garden through a 100-year-old cedar hedge archway, we make a sharp right for several of my next top 10 favourites. Ironically, none of these are perennials.
The first of these is Daphne X burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’. I’ve loved this plant for years and it never disappoints me. Wet springs or hot dry summers, it doesn’t seem to matter as long as there is good drainage and a reasonable amount of organic matter in the soil.
It’s a compact bush, about 3 or 4 feet in height and covered with small green/white variegated leaves. We have them planted in both full sun and semi shade with great results in both situations. Carol has a great spring bloom of small pink blossoms that have an absolutely intoxicating scent. The aroma literally draws you to her like a siren’s call. As a bonus she rewards us in late summer with a secondary bloom, sometimes up to 15 or 20% of the initial flowering although most times it’s just a sporadic sprinkling of blossoms.
On occasion heavy snow loads or ice storms break a major center branch but we simply prune this out and Carol quickly sets about filling in the hole with lush new growth. In my many years here at the garden I have yet to encounter any insect or disease problems on this great plant.
On the other hand, I have heard stories of perfectly healthy-looking Daphne committing daphnecide, but I haven’t encountered that yet myself with Carol. We do, though, have some Daphne mezereum ‘rubra’ in a relatively poorly-drained location that had no qualms about turning up its toes during a particularly wet spring.
Keep on digging,
Gnomey the Gardener