LAIDBACK GARDENER

The Shrub That Just Won’t Stop Blooming (Nov 20, 2016)

There’s not much still blooming in my garden in late November. An aconite (Aconitum carmichaelii ‘Arendsii’), some fall-blooming crocuses, white corydalis (Pseudofumaria alba, better known under its old name, Corydalis ochroleuca), and sticky sage (Salvia glutinosa) are about it. After all, most nights temperatures now drop below freezing and we’ve had several snows, although none that have lasted more than a few days. And any day now we’ll getting that snowfall: the one that will last right through until spring. Such is winter in USDA hardiness zone 3/AgCan zone 4!

But there is one shrub that is still blooming on… and it’s been in bloom since late April: Daphne x transatlantica ‘Jim’s Pride’. It is by far the longest blooming shrub in my garden… and so few gardeners seem to have ever heard about it!

Award Winner

This shrub was introduced by the late Jim Cross of Environmentals Nursery, Long Island, NY in the late 1980s and won a Gold Medal Plant award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in 1990. The parents of D. x transatlantica are Daphne caucasica (deciduous) and Daphne collina (evergreen). The result gives a semi-evergreen shrub about 3 to 4 feet (90-120 cm) high and wide (on 3’ by 3’ in my climate) with a mounded growth habit, small rhododendron-like leaves, and highly fragrant 4-petaled white flowers arising from pinkish buds. And for some reason, the plant just won’t stop blooming.

Most of the year, the bloom isn’t “oh-my-gawd-look-at-that!” dense, but small clusters of flowers do keep appearing from snow melt (or shortly thereafter) until winter truly sets in and no, there are no breaks: there are always at least a few flowers. The heaviest bloom is in spring, but most years, mine will still be in bloom in early December if the snow holds off until then.

The reason this shrub can do that is that it blooms from both old and new wood… and just keeps producing flower buds from spring though to winter. It just doesn’t know when to quit!