Winter Daphne (Daphne odora “Marginata”) – 3/3/2020

I usually try to share my joy and excitement with the plants in our garden.  That’s what I felt when I took this photo of our 11 year old Winter Daphne back in March of this year.  It was just starting to bloom.   When it’s in full flower the blossoms scent the entire front yard with an incredible intoxicating fragrance.  You can even smell it out on the street.  In the time it’s been here it’s grown to over 4′ tall and 6′ across.  A pretty big Daphne in my experience.  I love this plant!  So what’s the tragedy?  Read on…


Here’s why.  I took this photo a few minutes ago.  I’m heartbroken.  Starting about 3 weeks ago I noticed some of the leaves on the plant were looking kind of wilted.  I thought maybe our hot summer was getting to it.  Tho I haven’t had to water it for years now I thought maybe that was the problem, so I gave it tons of water.  It just kept getting worse.  You can see what it looks like now.   Sigh…

Daphnes are known to break your heart.  I learned that decades ago in my first nursery job.  They tend to just up and die for no apparent reason.  I lost a beautiful “Summer Ice” Daphne a couple of years ago just like that.  I never knew why.  But I’ve been so proud of our Winter Daphne and so pleased it has survived so long.  I should have know better, but I chose to believe maybe I’d had something to do with its longevity.  What hubris…

I know that with all that’s going on in the world today it may be odd to count this as a tragedy.  There are so many much worse things happening all over.  But I live in this garden and the plants here matter to me.  It’s my job to keep them healthy. But to be honest sometime things happen in a garden that the gardener can’t control.  It’s always a lesson in patience and acceptance, even submission, to the vagaries of Nature.  But losses like this are still hard to take.

I still have a couple smaller Daphnes I like a lot, but none of them come close to what this plant offered us.  As I said the scent was overpowering and so wonderful.  I’ll miss it a lot.  I don’t think I’ll try to replace it.  I don’t have the patience to start over with a baby plant.  And the garden would look odd with such a small plant in with all the bigger ones here now.  So I’m going to move a large Rhododendron from the back yard to fill  the space when I take out the Daphne.  It will still be nice, but it won’t fill the garden with delicious fragranced like the Daphne did.

Such is life for a gardener.  You grow something for years and then it betrays you by dying on you.  Am I taking this personally enough do you think?  I’ll get over this in time, but it makes me so sad.  Time for some radical acceptance I guess.  Despite losses such as this the garden will still be beautiful.  Just without our lovely Winter Daphne.

Beware of taking your Daphne for granted – Treasure it while you can!


6 responses to this post.

  1. The tender friendships in your garden are real, and so is the grief when they go! I think we do more good in the world with our fingers in the ground right here, than worrying about everyone else’s news! Much love from Jane xx

    Liked by 1 person


    • Thanks as always Jane for both your visit and your wisdom. It seems like the best thing I can do these days Is to put my fingers the soil, so I totally agree with you. Worry is so hard on us. Best if we garden! xoxo Steve



      • I’m doing a lot of work in my other blog this year, Steve. It is my garden. Would you like to see it? … a new post every 6 days! – My 2020 project – started last January, goes on until January 2021. xoxo

        Liked by 2 people


        • Hi Jane – I’m so sorry to take so long to respond. No excuses… I’ve tried to go to your new site a few times, but my web browser says it can’t open the page. So I finally tried it without the “s” on https. When I type in that I get to another incredible website of yours, but it has nothing to do with your garden, and it goes back years, not just 2020. Did you perhaps give me this address by mistake and you have another one for your garden? Let me know what you think about all this. Thanks! xoxo



          • That was my fault, Steve. It’s I forgot to put the wordpress in! It’s only a garden figuratively – more a menagerie with lots of poetry, animal archetypes and thoughts! my usual kind of stuff. But I think you will enjoy it Xoxoxo



            • That’s the site I went to already! I guess I was expecting more traditional gardening topics – like photos of plants! 😉 But no worries. I already looked at some of it and I found it fascinating reading, tho I can’t pretend I understand a lot of it. It’s gorgeous too. I love your artwork so much. Such wonderful images – full of meanings I can only guess at. I’ll look at more of it as time goes by. I appreciate you letting me know about it. Your work is always so amazing! Thank you! xoxo



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