Daphne 'Carol Mackie'

leslie6riMay 18, 2011

Here are a few shots of my beloved 'Carol Mackie' daphne. I've had this shrub for over 12 years. --And a few photos of what old age and heavy snow can do. (Sob!) It's just a matter of time...

Oh, the horror!

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I feel your pain and can smell the sweetness. I have one beautiful plant and lost one I planted last year to match it. They have doubled in price at the garden store, I can't afford to replace it. Moved it to a shadier spot as the wood is still green when scratched, but not a leaf or bud in sight...sigh

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 5:42PM
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I'm so, so sorry about your CM daphne. I know how challenging they are to grow and yours was absolutely gorgeous. My own is just 4 years old and still small enough to have survived our 8 ft. of snow this winter. Mother Nature giveth and she taketh away--cherish all the years of glorious fragrance with which yours scented your garden.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 6:13PM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

Just saw several of these on a Nature Conservancy garden tour last weekend ... looking just like yours. The horticulturist/owner said this happens to them pretty routinely even without the kind of winter we just had. They'll split down the middle -- an extremely vulnerable trunk structure. It just goes with having this plant, I think (much, I assume, the way Bradford pears are said to be prone to splitting down the center in storms).

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 6:17PM
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Hi everyone,

Thanks very much for the sympathy. I knew these were prone to splitting --and I'm grateful a virus didn't get it first. I've heard that happens often too. We've had a good run and it still blooms like crazy. Pity there's a huge unsightly hole in the middle, but I still love it. I never expected it to grow as big as it did; it outgrew the border it was planted in and spread out over the lawn. It's really a wonderful shrub and I'll enjoy it as long as I can.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:03AM
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At least 10 years ago my carol mackie was hit by a felled tree (a gross misjudgment on my husbands part) It lies completely sideways still, and must be nearly 5 feet wide. It's trunk was bare, devoid of any branches and totally visible because of it's position (horizontal instead of vertical) All these years I've been thinking about what I could grow in it or around it that would hide the trunk. Two years ago it began to sprout small branches from the top of the that trunk....now a few more....go figure.

If you can stand it, let it be and it may revive.

My problem is it is too big for the spot. At this rate, the entire 15 x 6 bed will be entirely daphne in another ten years...a good problem, yes?

I am going to cautiously and slowly begin to prune it. I don't see why that should harm it if I'm not hacking away and putting it into shock.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:38PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

Through 24 years of trying to grow this plant (need i tell you that it is one of my top fav shrubs?)we have acclimated to treating this plant as an (expensive) annual in our gardens. We've had them live 8 yrs and croak 100%; we've had them croak after one year. They are NOTORIOUS for being this way in the nursery trade. I know for a fact that above all, they want, like rhodos, drainage, drainage, drainage. So if yours has given you its glory for 12 years, I say you must have been a really good person in a previous life. :-)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:51PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

This makes me feel better. For many years, I had one of these in SE Mass. It grew to a very large size and the blooms were profuse. But then the older it got, the more distorted it got, and it finally developed a big hole in the middle. I tried to prune it to encourage new growth in the middle, but it never happened. It became unattractive, so I pulled it out. Sounds like the typical pattern! I thought it was me.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 1:05PM
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Leslie, I absolutely sympathize with you because mine just went through the same trauma. I have a 6-year old triangle of 3 of them and one looks like that and then some:

I am actually surprised it even leafed out. It looked so bad after the winter, I didn't think it would get any leaves.

And I didn't get so many flowers this year either... did I prune too late last year perhaps??? I'm not sure when they set their flower buds.

And if a third of my triangle has to be replaced, what a design mess that will be.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 5:18PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

wendy, i don't know if you've been lucky enough to see monique and les' garden in CT, but they grow clematis through many of their shrubs, to wonderful effect. what about a short clem to hide that open hole? and/or large headed alliums to come up through the hole and bloom and then leave their great round seedheads for the rest of the season?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 11:24PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

wendy and leslie, another thought: underplanting of corydalis lutea> small wispy roots shouldn't hurt daphne; foliage and all-season flowering are right height to mask the hole.i have tons if you don't-come on by!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 11:36PM
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clematis...great idea mindy!! I have an extra Petit Faucon waiting for a home. That would be a perfect scrambler for the job.

The voles or something had gotten most of P.F. in another location. I rescued the remains to a pot last year. I just uncovered that pot last week and it is looking good.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 8:45AM
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Another idea, I confess I haven't thought through...some lamb's ears began to grow under an outside edge of CM, and the monochromatic look was very pretty. It might be too damp, or downright boring, but I wonder how non-blooming stachys would look?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 11:57AM
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Mine have the same problem with snow load. They (2 of them) are too close to the driveway and New England snow invariably ends up on them. Sometimes the branches survive, sometimes not. Mine are also about 15 years old. At this point it looks like there is nothing in the center of the plants except branches crawling along the ground. But an outer ring of foliage and flowers is going strong and everyone comments on how wonderful it looks. The "center" area is filled in with roses that tower above it and some nepeta that flows out over a barren spot where I lost a whole section. Anyway, as long as you're not right on top of it you'd never know that half of each plant is missing. It's sad and I want to cry about it sometimes, but it still looks and smells awesome. Hopefully, yours will continue to do so too.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:55PM
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cindy, oh, nepeta is a great idea! I'd like to see what you mean about the rose. Can you post a picture/

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 9:24PM
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I'll try to get one posted tomorrow or Monday.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Thanks everyone,

Sorry, --I wandered off for a few days...

Well, it's good knowing I'm not the only one experiencing this! Wendy, rockman, willsmom, cindy...

idabean, mine has outgrown its bed too; I never expected it to grow so large. My solution for that is to enlarge the bed! More room is always a good thing. I've always been afraid to prune it at all because someone once told me that any cuts would make it easier for a virus to attack it and finish it off completely. That there is a virus that causes 'sudden daphne death'. --I really don't know if this is true, but I've never forgotten it. And never pruned it at all.

Willsmom, I planted mine in full sun, southern exposure and later read part shade would have been better. Yet it has always been very happy in the sun. I wonder if many garden writers are used to southern conditions. Or maybe this daphne isn't as fussy about sun/shade as many assume. If you've got green wood there's hope. Good luck with yours.

mindy, idabean, and cindy, I hadn't even thought of planting anything in the empty middle! That's a great idea! Some English violets have worked their way in, but they do noting to disguise the stem damage. Hmmm, clematis, roses, nepeta, stachys... (I'm sure the cats would vote for nepeta.) Does Corydalis lutea need shade?

wendy, to lose one of a set of three... do you think you'll plant the clematis in the center? What scares me about your daphne is that the branches are so high off the ground. Mine are lying flat on the ground now, so I'm no longer as worried about heavy snow. Wish I knew the answer to your pruning question.

cindy, I'd love to see your photo too.

mindy, I never realized my success in the garden depended on my previous life. But now that I know it's all about karma, I'm going to be absolutely saintly --for next time!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:34PM
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I think the consistency of what happens to these shrubs as they age is remarkable. "No one told me that"

No room to expand this bed: brick walk on one side, stone retaining wall on other. I'm ok with that. This garden is so not perfect, (and so early in the season) that when I walk through I only keep one eye open, so the other eye can't see the mess.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:25PM
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