Daphnes have always held an elusive role in the garden. These coveted shrubs are prized by those who can grow them well and desired by those who cannot. Daphnes: A Practical Guide for Gardeners is a great help in unlocking the cultural needs of this devilish genus, without becoming lost in taxonomic descriptions and explanations that might alienate the average gardener. Robin White’s writing is clear, informative, and of value to gardeners at any level. His extensive experience cultivating, propagating, and hybridizing daphnes is captured in a readable way from start to finish. The contents are easy to navigate and contain excellent photography covering the many plants and practices discussed.
Although not meant as a complete listing of all Daphne species, the book more than covers what is available in nurseries now or anticipated in the near future. Each species listing provides a description of the native habitat, cultural information, variants and named clones in commerce, as well as White’s personal experiences with the plant. The book clearly reveals the secrets of successful cultivation of these plants.
A considerable number of pages have been devoted to hybrids, several from the author’s own crosses. Many of these hybrids are new or rare; finding any information on them elsewhere has been difficult.
The remainder of the book is dedicated to cultural tips, propagation techniques, and pests and disease problems and controls, all as clearly stated as in the earlier sections. For those who have failed before in cultivating daphnes, this book will have them drooling to give daphnes another try. I know this book has spurred me to try more species and find sources for some of the new and charming hybrids for the garden.
Richie Steffen, curator, Elisabeth C Miller Botanical Garden