Hello all! Today I want to share with you a fantastic family of evergreen shrubs that provide wonderful flowers and berries for many months of the year, but really come into their own during the colder winter months. They are easy plants to grow, very low maintenance, and produce flowers just at a time of year when you want them most.
I speak of Viburnum tinus:
I have two viburnum shrubs in my garden. One is a quite compact one, which has topped out around 6 feet tall, and I believe it might be ‘Spring Bouquet’ or ‘Davidii’, but it’s been so long I honestly don’t remember the exact variety anymore (Bad gardener! But this was planted before I was keeping detailed notes about the garden . . .) The other one is quite a bit taller, probably closer to 12 feet tall. We purchased it at the end of the season from a hardware store in October when we first moved into our home back in 2001, and it was unlabeled, so I have no idea as to the variety.
Here you can see what the tall viburnum looks like now (I’ve got a bed full of arugula under the plastic):
And what it will look like in a couple of weeks–I took this shot last year (with a different camera), and it’s blooming with a yellow forsythia:
Even though I am unaware of their exact names, I can tell you they are the perfect guests to invite into your garden. Mine start blooming at the end of August, and bloom through the winter and finish up in late spring. They are evergreen shrubs, so they provide structure to the garden year round. Hardy to garden zones 7-11, Viburnum like partial sun to sunny locations, and now that they are mature shrubs, I never provide them with water other than the rainfall that we receive here, which is a ton in the fall, winter and spring and none in the summer–you might need to provide water if you garden in a drier climate. I never fertilize them, either–they thrive without it in our rich acidic clay soils.
A big reason I love these shrubs, both short and tall, is that they provide winter nectar flowers for the hummingbirds that like to winter over in our garden. The buds are pink:
And the tiny tubular flowers, which are produced in clusters, are white. Those tubes are perfect for a hummingbird’s long beak! I love that the shrubs also produce shiny blue berries. The birds enjoy these, although they are not fit for human consumption, and if we didn’t have indoor pets, I would be inclined to include them in indoor floral arrangements in the autumn because of that gorgeous deep color. (I am afraid that those bright berries would be too tempting for our crew of curious felines, and even though Viburnum are not listed on the ASPCA list of plants toxic to cats, I don’t like taking any chances.) In any event, they don’t make particularly good cut flowers, so I usually just enjoy them every time I look out our dining room and bedroom windows.
Do you grow viburnum in your garden? Tell me all about it down in the comments!
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Till next time,
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