EVERYBODY, WELL almost everybody, knows about Daphne odora, that fragrant delight that graces the February garden. But long before Madame Daphne takes the stage, my dear, sweet Sarcococca ruscifolia (or Sweet Box) is having its hay day. It starts blooming right after Christmas and continues throughout January.
The flowers are diminutive and belie the fragrance they emit. Right now I've got about 7 stems in a container of water maybe ten feet away and the fragrance is to die for.
As you can see from the above photo, my plant has grown to about 4 feet wide but only three feet tall in ten years. The plants thrive in dry shade and when they aren't blooming they make a nice structural evergreen. The only bugs I've ever seen on my plants are early honey bees!
If I'm ever forced to leave my garden, one of the first plants I'd buy for my new garden would be Sarcococca. That is unless I'm forced to move to Siberia. Great Plant Picks, (more on this in a minute) says it's hardy in Zones 7-9 so Christine in Alaska, here's another reason to get yourself a heated greenhouse!
No, my Snow Drops aren't blooming yet. It's just that I had this photo next to the Sarcococca in my files and I couldn't resist.
Great Plant Picks, for those of you who don't know, is a fabulous resource to gather information on plants you're interested in growing. Although it is a website featuring plants specifically for Pacific Northwest gardens, it can benefit gardeners everywhere since it's all about detailing the cultural requirements for the best garden plants. Lots of nice photos too. Because this is a non-commercial site, you're going to get the real deal--facts written by unbiased horticulturists instead of salespeople. You gotta love that!