Dear Helen: Whatever happened to the small, neatly mounded evergreen daphne plants that used to be available, in full bloom, at garden centres at this time in the year? They were popular Mother’s Day gift plants. The flowers had a lovely fragrance. I think the name was garland daphne.
Daphne cneorum (rock daphne, garland daphne) is seldom seen now in garden centres. I can’t imagine that it faded out of fashion. The plants are beautiful and easy-growing, and the blooms are wonderfully perfumed.
When I asked about the plant at one of my local garden centres, I was told they hadn’t had access to Daphne cneorum for years. Their usual grower-supplier in Oregon went out of production because of difficulties with fungus diseases.
I have three D. cneorum, grown from seed, as well as two seed-grown D. retusa and several D. alpina. I can’t even find seed sources for them now. As soon as the soil has warmed a little more I plan to try rooting a few D. retusa and D. cneorm cuttings in a lightly shaded, moist garden site.
A lovely, newer daphne called Eternal Fragrance can sometimes be found in local garden centres. It’s a treasure. My (purchased) plant has stayed fairly compact except for spreading out enough to require some trimming. Very fragrant pink and white flowers appear in closely repeated waves from spring o fall. A location beside a pathway allows for optimum pleasure in the plant and in the flowers’ sweet scent.
I came by my Eternal Fragrance and another daphne called Lawrence Crocker completely by chance, simply coming upon them as plants on their own during amblings through local garden centres.
Dear Helen: Collards are my favorite vegetable. I came across an article about tree collards that grow taller than two metres. Do you know where I could buy seeds or seedlings locally?
It is not impossible, but it is rather unlikely, that you will find the seeds or seedlings locally, but I’ll place your question in a column in case it unearths a source that I can pass along to you.
Seeds are available online, mainly for the perennial purple tree collards. One source is Siskiyou Seeds in Oregon. They ship to Canada. Territorial Seeds in Oregon lists tree collards but they are out of stock.
Tree collards are native to Africa but the plants are hardy and perennial for up to 15 years. The taste of the leaves is described as nutty and the stems apparently stay tender.
Cactus show and sale. The Victoria Cactus and Succulent Society will hold a Spring Show and Sale on Friday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Church of the Advent, 510 Mt. View Ave. in Colwood.
Saturday plant sales:
Victoria Rhododendron Society, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 4640 Cordova Bay Rd. VRS members will be selling their rhododendrons and other plants.
Compost Education Centre, 1216 North Park St., Victoria, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All organically grown plants.
View Royal Garden Club, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at View Royal Town Hall, 45 View Royal Ave. Cash only.
St. Michael and All Angels Women’s Guild Plants, Pots and More sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 4733 West Saanich Rd. in Royal Oak. Tomato plants, flowering pots and baskets, strawberry baskets, vegetables, annual and perennial flowers, garden-themed items.
Ladysmith Saltair Garden Club, starting at 9 a.m. at Ladysmith Aggie Hall, Symonds and 1st Ave. (at the roundabout) in Ladysmith. Annuals, perennials, shrubs, herbs, vegetable transplants, house plants, grown by members. Mother’s Day gift plantings, experienced garden equipment. Master Gardeners on site.
Conservatory tour. The Victoria Conservatory of Music Mother’s Day Musical Garden tour on Saturday and Sunday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will feature 11 beautiful gardens. Two-day pass $40. Details of the tour and list of ticket sale outlets at vcm.bc.ca/victoria-garden-tour/.
Mother’s Day Tea. Abkhazi Garden and Teahouse, 1964 Fairfield Rd. in Victoria, is hosting a Mother’s Day Tea on Saturday and Sunday with three sittings, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. By reservation only at 1-778-265-6466. Most of the garden’s rhododendrons will be in full bloom.