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Plant of the Month

February Daphne
Daphne mezereum

Location: Grid T5 right side of the gravel road below the pergola

This plant must have gotten its common name in a milder climate than Moscow. It sometimes might have a hint of color in February, but I have not ever seen it bloom, and sometimes it is even April before it shows much color.

February Daphne, Daphne mezereum 3-18-14
February Daphne, Daphne mezereum 3-18-14

Like many other Daphne, February Daphne is very fragrant. Since that is usually seen as a way to attract pollinators to the plant, it always seemed a little redundant in our climate, since there are so few other things flowering right now, there is not much competition for the available pollinators.

February Daphne, Daphne mezereum 3-18-14
February Daphne, Daphne mezereum 3-18-14

Unlike many other Daphne, February Daphne is deciduous, losing its leaves every fall. That helps to make it more winter hardy than many of the evergreen forms of Daphne. Unfortunately, Daphne have a deserved reputation for being somewhat short lived and difficult to grow. They do not transplant very well once they are established and they need that elusive combination of “moist, well drained soil”. We started with two plants in 2005, and those two plants have since died— but, the good news is that they manage to re- seed themselves politely and we manage to keep enough alive to enjoy their flowers and fragrance every spring.

Monthly Projects

March has been spent cleaning up the various display gardens in the Arboretum. With the unusual amount of storm damage back in November we were not able to get as much clean up done in the fall as I would have liked, so now we are trying to catch up. Like many things in ornamental horticulture there is no complete consensus on when is the best time to cut back and clean up things like daylilies and iris. Some argue for fall cleanup, reducing overwintering bugs and diseases, while others argue for spring cleanup, leaving the old foliage to provide some measure of winter protection.

Hellebores or Lenten Rose after the March clean up 3-19-14 Hellebores or Lenten Rose after the March clean up 3-19-14

I think the ideal time is the day in spring just before the plants begin to show new top growth—but, of course it is impossible to know what that day will be, and even more impossible to get everything done on that day. So, like many things in gardening we do it when we can!

Upcoming Events

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Arboretum Associates Annual Meetings - April 10, 2014

April 10, 2014, 6:30 pm, Fiske Room, 1912 Center, 412 E Third Street, Moscow

Hors d'oeuvres, no host bar 6:00 pm
Brief business meeting 7:00pm
Followed by the annual report on the Arboretum given by Paul Warnick, Arboretum Horticulturist

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Arboretum Associates Annual Plant Sale

Saturday, May 31, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, Ice Rink Latah County Fairgrounds

Traditionally the sale has been held on the first Saturday in June—but, because of the way the calendar falls in 2014, it was decided to move it up to May 31.

Plant Sale List

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New This Year

Science Saturdays in the Arboretum
Saturday June28, July 26 and August 23.

Watch for information coming next month on scheduled programs and times for these family oriented educational programs.

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