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Friday, 24 February 2017

Fantastic scent right outside your door - Daphne Odora

You can have a sweet, alluring scent drifting up your garden path as you leave on a frosty morning. You can enjoy a whiff of fragrance resembling sherbet on cold spring days just by opening the back door to put the rubbish out.  All you need is a Daphne! 

If there is just one plant flowering in your garden at this time of year, make sure it is a Daphne! They have the most amazing scent and are a real treat, flowering in the cold months at the start of the year when so few plants small as strongly. There are plants with great scent in winter, but Daphne is the best.

Although you may hardly notice the small pink flowers, the scent is unmissable. In late February and March it is at its fragrant best. You don't even need to take the trouble to bend down and smell it. Position it just outside your door and there will be occasions when you wont need to do anything to get a whiff of it. It's delicious scent fills the air to the extent that merely opening the door and leaning out to put rubbish in the dustbin, without even setting foot outside, will be enough to fill your nostrils and delight you.

The great thing about Daphnes is that their scent seems to carry so well. There is no need to seek it out or bury your nose in its flowers. It will come to you. They are best positioned beside a path (one that you use in winter) or outside a door so that you can enjoy it every time you walk past, or even stick your head out. You will think you have put your head into an invisible cloud of perfume.

GREEN FINGERS TIP
Daphne odora normally grows in woodland so give it a slightly shady position and avoid hot summer sun. I grow mine in a pot with some ericaceous compost. Growing in a pot means I can put it right next to the door in winter to enjoy the scent, but move it to a shady spot by a north facing wall in summer where it won't dry out too easily. They don't respond well to pruning, but don't really need it. Just give it a nice size pot and let it do its thing!
 
Daphne odora
They should be available in your local garden centre now. I saw these at Almondsbury near Bristol. They are not cheap (usually about £25 each) but such is the intensity and sweetness of Daphne's fragrance, and so freely is it given, that my garden does not feel complete without one. They are worth every penny. Mine is Daphne odora aureomarginata, and is outside the front door. It is sending its amazing fragrance around the front garden, and I love catching a bot of it every time I go in or out. Every garden should have one. 

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