It pains me to admit that a ‘Summer Ice’ daphne (Daphne x transatlatica ‘Summer Ice’, below) planted early in the spring was lost a few weeks ago, almost certainly due to my inattention and not catching the first signs of wilt in this period of summer heat and little rain. One day it was fine, the next time I noticed it was brown and too late to save. Was the time in between a day or a week? I’m clueless, but ashamed that I screwed this one up.
While daphnes in general have a well earned reputation for being finicky, I’ve had excellent success with ‘Summer Ice’ and similar hybrids ‘Eternal Fragrance’ and ‘Jim’s Pride’. Currently, I am babysitting a tiny ‘Brigg’s Moonlight’ daphne that I erroneously had delivered in August, rather than specifying a much safer late September arrival. ‘Moonlight’ is the reverse variegation of the popular ‘Carol Mackie’, which is not as difficult as a few other daphnes that I’ve tried and failed with, but ‘Carol’ demands proper positioning, and without it she will be trouble. I think that I’ve given ‘Moonlight’ the best spot possible, but time will tell, if I can keep it alive over the next several weeks.
The lost ‘Summer Ice’ could not be replaced with ‘Brigg’s Moonlight’ because it backs up to established plantings that could easily overwhelm a tiny shrub, and I’m thinking I’ll probably plant another ‘Carol Mackie’ when I can get one that’s a bit larger, which will probably be spring. I’ve lost a few ‘Carol Mackie’ over the years, with one that was long lived, but competing with a vigorous clump of sweetbox (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) it faded and finally perishing this spring. I’m fairly confident that this partly sunny spot in the front will work as well for ‘Carol’ as it does for other daphnes.
Of course, other than the recent loss of the ‘Summer Ice’, what brings this to mind is that the three hybrid daphnes are at peak bloom in early September. All have blooms from mid to late March until November, but these ebb and flow, and now’s one of the heavy periods of flowering. Unfortunately, my sense of smell is next to nil, so I don’t enjoy the fragrance, but I will carefully choose spots to plant as many daphnes as can be fit.