Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Humble Viburnum

This little guy was one of my first perennial purchases. At the time, I didn't know much about gardening, so I asked the lady at the nursery for suggestions.

My requirements: must do well in a container and in shade, look good most of the year, and not require too much work. She suggested the Viburnum tinus you see above. I'm not sure which cultivar it is - the tag is long gone (and the RHS plant finder lists 32 cultivars) but for years I felt disappointed by it. It was gangly and sad, and never flowered or produced berries. I labeled it a dud, but nonetheless hauled it from house to house when I moved.

Finally, I ended up with a south-facing backyard. I decided to prune it back, eliminating all the gangly bits, and placed the pot at the foot of the steps. "This is your last chance," I told it.

I guess it wasn't happy in the shade after all, because sure enough, it performed brilliantly. Pink flowers in early spring all through summer, followed by glossy deep-purple berries in fall through winter. Sure, some may consider it boring, a ubiquitous landscaper's shrub, but I'm thrilled with it. Especially in winter when it looks most lovely. And mostly, just because it reinforces an eternal principle of the garden: give it what it wants and it will reward you. Or, you might say: right plant, right place.


Blogger Takoma Gardener said...

Ooh, and evergreen, too. NOw all I need is a centimeter-to-inches converter, since we Americans are so backyard and all.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I find alot of people who work in nurseries aren't always that knowledgable. I always like to research things myself. Nurseries usually have lots of reference books and are happy to let you look at them.

9:58 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

You know, I still think in imperial, too!

200cm = approximately 6.5 feet, although mine is only 2' tall.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Could it be the "blueberry muffin" cultivar?

12:48 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Although it sounds like something I would buy (I'm a sucker for interesting plant names!) I don't think it is; from the pictures I can see on the web, Blue Muffin has serrated leaves. This one has quite smooth edges.

1:39 PM  

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