Monday, March 1, 2010
It is bloomtime in Corvallis—the two edible white plums, the pink wild plum, all of the daffodils, and the Daphne are all their full glory right now. And, as it was clear this weekend, they were stunning against the spring sky.
If you don’t know, Daphne is a unobtrusive little shrub for eleven months of the year. Back when I lived in Portland, Mark and I walked through my totally uncool, highly diverse, working class neighborhood of Northeast Portland on Sunday afternoons. One February afternoon, we kept smelling this incredible clean, sweet, fresh, spring-y flower, but we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. We’d walk by an old porch with a few battered foundation plants, smell it, look around, and see nothing that could be, in our minds, the source of that smell. It took us at least five houses before I spotted it. Scrubby, tough looking, in the rhododendron family, and small, but covered in white tubular flowers with pink edges. I walked up to the front porch to confirm my suspicions. That little shrub perfumed the entire neighborhood. We were amazed. As soon as we bought our house, I bought a daphne for myself and planted it under the bedroom window, dreaming of smelling it in the evening through the open windows in early February. I didn’t know then that the windows swelled shut every winter from rain and wouldn’t open until early May…but I take trimmings from it into the house every week, and I can smell the flowers throughout the back yard, especially in the evenings when I brush against them on the way to the water spigot. It is the beginning of spring.