At this time of year one of my favourite plants is Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, an absolutely gorgeous shrub that gives me everything I dream of but don’t expect to find in the midst of winter – namely enchantingly pretty flowers with an exquisite fragrance. This delightful shrub was raised by Hillier’s legendary plant breeder, Alan Postill and named for his wife, Jacqueline back in 1982.
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ flowers are borne in pom-pom-like clusters of inflorescences; the outers of the individual tubular flowers are mauve-pink in colour while the centre of the blooms are coloured with soft-ivory. This delicate combination of colours is graceful and elegant, never sickly-sweet, or brash. The blooms produce a heady, intoxicating perfume that’s simply divine! The flowers’ powerful fragrance soothes every fibre of my being as I breathe in its sweetness – it’s a welcome tonic of positivity!
There are several secrets to success with Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. This plant will not be happy in a windy or exposed site. Plant in a sheltered position in a sunny or partially shaded area, in moist but well-drained soil. If you can provide a degree of shade over the plant’s roots this will be beneficial.
Take time deciding on the best permanent position you can offer Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, as these plants hate being moved and detest any disturbance around their roots. Plant in a border with other perpetual plantings that are planted with (or before) your Daphne. Don’t be tempted to plant annuals or bulbs around the base of this Daphne.
Water-logged soils prove fatal for these plants. I find ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is happiest when planted in the ground, in moist but well-drained soils; however, I grew this Daphne successfully in very free-draining, silty soil at my allotment without any supplementary watering, only thrice yearly mulches of homemade compost (applied after heavy rain).
If your soil is inclined to be water-logged, or if you have a patio garden, don’t be disheartened; in my garden, Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ has flourished in containers of loam-based peat-free compost, top-dressed with twice-yearly mulches of Dalefoot Compost.
This shrub needs no pruning; in fact, trimming branches usually causes them to decline. Please don’t make the mistake of cutting stems of Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ to bring the flowers indoors, for these blooms won’t last longer than an hour or two at most, and the shrubs deeply resent any interference.
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is an upright shrub that grows up to around 2m (6.5ft) tall and 1.2m (4ft) wide. This is a slow-growing plant that’s difficult to propagate, therefore it’s available in limited quantities. If you’ve got a sheltered spot in sunshine or dappled shade that needs enlivening in winter, I recommend investing in Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ plants are available from peat-free growers, Charleshurst Farm Nursery.
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