My daphne is beginning to bloom.

daphne flower

Why did I wait so long to plant one of these? Actually, I know why: I was afraid of failure. I have read of people planting these enchanting shrubs, falling utterly in love with them, and then after several years the daphne dies, without warning, throwing the gardener into heartbroken despair. There’s enough grim business in the world without adding to the mix with fussy plants.

But my neighbor has one that scents up my entire yard with its heavenly, lemon-scented blooms. Stepping out the front door, I receive an olfactory gift of hope. To smell one is to want one; it is that straightforward.

Last year I took the plunge and bought a quart-sized ‘Carol Mackie.’ I was lucky in that we had decent rain here, while the rest of the country suffered terrible drought. I am cautiously hopeful that I have sited it well and nurtured it adequately with generous helpings of worm compost tea. In about a week, I intend to spend a little time in meditation, right next to Carol, and relish her when she is in full bloom.

New plants for 2012, part 1

So far this year I’ve added a Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata.’

I have wanted one of these for ages. Two of my neighbors have them, and their lemony smell in February gives me the courage to believe that another bleary winter is almost over. I have been afraid, though, to embark on a daphne adventure because they’re reputed to be quite finicky. They will enchant you for years, only to up and die suddenly and for no reason.

It’s small right now, just a quart-size plant, hiding behind the gardenia hedge. It should get moderate sun, decent exposure morning through midday.

Fingers crossed!