Plant of the Month: February

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

by Sue Gray

February can be a rather miserable month in the garden; whilst there are signs of hope of things to come, a plant that really ‘does its thing’ at this time of year is extremely welcome, and Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is just that.

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

Daphne bholua is a species of shrub from Nepal, where it grows in the Himalayas and other mountain ranges to a height of 3,500 metres.  There are a number of named varieties but by far the most freely available is ‘Jacqueline Postill’.  This may be because it was bred by Alan Postill, a ‘Master Propagator and Plant Breeder’ at Hilliers, who named it for his wife, and was presumably distributed by them.

It is a slender, medium sized shrub reaching to about 2.5m in height, which is described as ‘semi-evergreen’.  In the milder winters that we are now experiencing, I find it reliably evergreen which, if as happened mid-January this year, there is a heavy downfall of snow, the branches can be weighed down, causing the stems to splay out if the snow is not removed soon enough.

Flowers appear as deep pink buds, opening to pale pink/white flowers which emit a lovely perfume.  If, as we sometimes do, we get a ‘balmy’ February day, the scent can be appreciated throughout the garden, but even on not so good days, at closer quarters, the fragrance is lovely.

The only downside I have found with the shrub is that it can sucker quite freely.  I have lifted several and potted them up, but to date they have not grown much.  Andy McIndoe recommends severing the root from the parent plant and leaving to develop its own root system before lifting the new plant, but I am never patient enough, which probably explains why mine do not flourish.

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ holds the Award of Garden Merit and is, in my mind, a very worthwhile plant in any garden.

Sue Gray

Picture courtesy of the HPS Image Library

P.S. This plant has been the subject of a previous Plant of the Month blog by Jane Orton –  if you would like to see it, click here

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