I walked up the stairs to my back door yesterday morning and immediately smelled the gardenia-like scent of Daphne bholua “Jacqueline Postill”. The sun was finally strong enough to warm the buds and spur them to open. As I went past the door to get a bigger fragrance hit, a hummingbird who was also drawn to the almost 8 foot evergreen shrub buzzed by quite close to my ear. We all think hummingbirds are cute and delicate but they are actually quite aggressive. It continued to buzz around my head and occasionally chirp while I took some photos.
I planted my Daphne bholua “Jacqueline Postill” back in 2011. At that time it was about 3 feet tall. It holds up well during every season so far with very little leaf damage from sun, cold, wind or snow. It even froze for a few days this year. You can see some of the damage in the photos. Not too bad considering the leaves were frozen for several days, thawing only for a few hours each day.
My Daphne bholua is planted in a sheltered location near the fence which has been helpful so far but next year may be too hot and dry. If I move it I expect it will turn on me and die since daphnes like to stay put. I’ve had great luck with daphnes but even if you treat them well sometimes they just die for no apparent reason. Such is the life of a gardener. You just can’t worry about stuff like that.
Daphne bholua “Jacqueline Postill”, also known as Nepalese Paper Plant, is named after the wife of Alan Postill who selected this self pollinating seedling of Daphne bholua “Gurka”. It’s a native of the eastern Himalayas where it grows in great thickets. Judging from the intensity of fragrance that just one bush can produce, a whole thicket would be intoxicating. Speaking of intoxicating, you should avoid pruning the Daphne bholua or ingesting the berries. All parts of it are poisonous to humans as well as pets.