Once upon a time, I bought a Daphne 'Carol Mackie' shrub. I bought it because its fragrant pale pink flowers and its green and yellow variegated foliage caught my eye and my nose. It's one of those decadently delicious fragrances that makes you want to just stand as close to it as you can and sniff it for a very long time.
But daphnes can be belligerent things, and mine was no different. They're notoriously fussy about growing conditions, but I was certain that I could grow it. Never mind that we have mucky, heavy clay soil. I amended it and knew that it couldn't be that difficult to make it grow. After all, that's what plants want to do, right?
Well. It didn't last through the first winter, which was a pretty mild one. I was so disappointed.
A couple of years passed, and I was taking a walk in New Haven, Ind., with my husband, and came upon a beautiful garden. The owners were outside and graciously let us walk around to see it better. And there was the most beautiful Daphne 'Carol Mackie' I think I'd ever seen. I was so envious.
I resisted purchasing another one, because for one thing, they aren't the most inexpensive plant to buy. And I just wasn't sure I wanted to try again, only to be disappointed once more if it died. But then I saw an even bigger one at The Perennial Plant Peddler near Findlay, Ohio, and that did it. I was getting another one.
|Daphne x. burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie' at The Perennial Plant Peddler in May 2011|
I hadn't seen any in local garden centers, so I did what Ann, the owner at PPP had done years before. I ordered one from Bluestone Perennials in Madison, Ohio, and it was delivered in the spring of 2011. It was small when it came and I wasn't sure where I was going to put it, so I got it in the ground in a raised bed we'd made and there it stayed for the summer.
|Daphne 'Carol Mackie' in May 2013|
If any winter was going to do my daphne in, it was last winter. It isn't the cold that is particularly tough on it - it's hardy to Zone 4 - it's the drainage. It needs very good drainage. The raised bed planting no doubt helped. But I didn't plant it in an ideal location because after all, it wasn't going to stay there, right? It was in full sun, out in the open with no protection from harsh winter winds - both of those things no-nos.
But it thrived. This spring, it budded out and bloomed gloriously. I was ecstatic.
Now I wanted to put it somewhere else. We needed the raised bed space for growing veggies and it wasn't the proper location for such a beautiful shrub anyway. We had lost our Scotch broom over the winter (*sniff*) and the daphne would be wonderful placed there, on the east side of the greenhouse, in part shade, protected from the winds.
Just one more problem: you aren't supposed to move a daphne once it's established. But you aren't supposed to do that with baptisias either and I've never had a problem moving those. So I took a BIG risk. Today, I moved the daphne.
|My daphne, in the back on the right, in its new location|
I'm scared. And I'm praying it will survive. It might be frivolous and inappropriate to ask you to pray for my daphne too, but I'll be grateful if you could at least cross your fingers.