Skip navigation.

Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Recent Comments

Fragrant winter daphne

Posted by Graham Rice on 15 Feb 2009 at 01:40 PM

Daphne bholua 'Penwood'. Image: Karan JunkerSince the introduction from the Himalayas of the gorgeously scented, white flowered Daphne bholua in 1938 two selections have given a boost to its popularity. Varying between deciduous and semi-evergreen, and in hardiness, back in 1962 the hardy and deciduous ‘Gurkha' proved an excellent garden plant. Then in 1962 came ‘Jacqueline Postill', equally hardy but tending to be evergreen, which proved to be of Award of Garden Merit standard.

Others followed and now there's another promising contender, ‘Penwood' from Junkers's Nursery (P. M. A. Plant Specialities). Karan Junker, who runs the nursery, told me: "It has superb rich purple buds which open into large flower clusters in the usual way. We actually prefer this one to the popular 'Jacqueline Postill' becasue it holds its foliage so much better after flowering - truly evergreen rather than suffering the unflattering "moult" that afflicts 'Jacqueline Postill' for a couple of weeks each spring."

They raised ‘Penwood' as a seedling from a plant of D. bholua acquired from Doug Harris at Penwod Nurseries 15 years ago, hence the name. Just one seedling came from the seed. It stood out not only for the fact that it holds its foliage so well but also for the dramatic contrast between the rich purple buds and the large white flowers, much less pink than 'Jacqueline Postill', with just a little pink colouring seeping in at the edges of the white petals. It has an upright habit, the original plant is 2m tall and 1m wide and Karan tells me the fragrance is superb.

Daphne bholua ‘Penwood' is available only from Junkers's Nursery (P. M. A. Plant Specialities). And Karan tells me she'll have another new form of D. bholua in the autumn.



Tim Leunig said:

Sounds great - Jacqueline P spelt fabulous at Wisley this afternoon (and Wisley looked great, even if the glass house shuts tediously early - it is very irritating not to be allowed in after 3.45, when it takes less than 20 mins to walk back to the main gate)

on 21 Feb 2009 at 10:12 PM

Graham Rice said:

Glad to hear Wisley's looking great after the winter we're having.

The glasshouse stays open later in summer, I think. My guess is that it closes at 3.45 at this time of year to allow the staff to finish watering and so on before it gets dark.

on 22 Feb 2009 at 12:27 PM