Winter Daphne is, in my opinion, the perfect spring flower because it so epitomizes the spring climate here in North Carolina. It starts to show the slightest hint of flowers sometime in late January, but it takes its own sweet time getting here. Every day, I wander by it, stooping down to examine the still-tight buds. Some days more than others it looks surely like it's ready to bloom, its light pink and white blossoms peeking out from the green foliage, the slightest bit of lemon scent detected, only to close up again at the slightest bit of cool weather. It's a tease.
Spring here is like that, too. Gradually warming days, weather forecasts of 50 degrees, 60, maybe even 70! One day is so delightful that it warms our souls after the bitter cold nights of winter. The next is chilly again, and we collectively sigh as we're left wondering when? When will we be able to venture out again? Feel the warm sun against our skin as we shed our coats for something less confining? Spread some mulch? Plant some seeds into the warming ground? We wonder, with the next warm spell, if we have finally turned the corner on winter once and for all.
And then one day, usually in late February, as I walk through the seemingly still-bare garden, something has changed. A breeze lifts, mild against my cheek, and at the same time, the most ethereal lemon scent wafts past me on the breeze. And I know. The daphne has bloomed! Spring is here!