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Design

Think of This Beauty as the Perennial Cousin of Daphne

Photo: courtesy of Paul Cappiello

Name: Himalayan stellera (Stellera chamaejasme)

Zones: 4–8

Size: 15 to 18 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: Northern China and Tibet

This is a bona fide, completely irrational, lust plant. I know I can’t grow it in my Kentucky garden; it’s too hot here in the summer, there’s not nearly enough snow cover in winter, and there’s not an ounce of scree within miles. But lust is a fickle and tyrannical beast. Most members of the genus Daphne and its family Thymeleaceae are woody shrubs that are sublimely beautiful and excruciatingly frustrating to grow. The kiss of death is noticing how good your daphne is looking, at which point you can be sure it will be half-dead inside of three days. But the delicate form and fragrance of daphnes—there’s not much that can compare. However, the fact that daphnes are almost impossible to grow makes them all that…

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