VIBURNUM continued
last updated 31/10/2014

NEW VIBURNUM 'Chesapeake'
(V. x carlcephalum 'Cayuga' x V. utile) A small dense semi-evergreen with small dark glossy green leaves. The delightful flowers are pink in bud opening white, followed by red fruits which turn black.

VIBURNUM chingii
This is an adorable medium shrub. Having smaller leaves gives it a more graceful appearance than the density of most large leaved Viburnum. It is currently flowering as I write (early December) though whether this is typical or yet another oddity caused by the awful weather only time will tell. Typical clusters of tubular Viburnum flowers are pale pink tipped with richer pink. Fragrant when it's warm enough!

VIBURNUM 'Chippewa' 
This handsome plant was the product of a breeding programme at the US National Arboretum in 1968. Evergreen V. japonicum was crossed with the deciduous, red-fruited V. dilatatum 'Catskill' and ‘Chippewa’ was selected from the resultant seedlings 5 years later. Thus we can enjoy dark green, heavy-textured foliage that takes on fabulous rich red autumn colour late in the season. The huge creamy white flower-heads in May can contain 250-400 florets (no, I haven’t counted them to check) before giving way to a potentially heavy set of glossy red fruits in August. Fruiting will be best with a pollinator but I grow it for its late autumn colour which extends the season in spectacular manner.

A superb recent evergreen American selection of more compact habit than its predecessors. Dark glossy green leaves take on a maroon tinge in winter. Dark pink flower buds open to pleasantly fragrant creamy white flowers in April. The glossy red fruit can persist for 6-8 weeks in the autumn. We have a very splendid specimen next to the drive which attracts constant attention. The dark leaves make a wonderful backdrop for pale coloured early bulbs.

VIBURNUM davidii 'Angustifolium'

VIBURNUM dentatum 'White and Blue'
I first fell in love with a photo of this one which showed the almost artificial blue berries. These follow prolific creamy-white flowers held in typical style in flat topped cymes in June. 

VIBURNUM 'Emerald Triumph'
(V. burejaeticum x V. rhytidophylloides 'Alleghany'
) This University of Minnesota introduction from 1994 is particularly hardy, flowering well following temperatures unheard of in this country. It forms a compact, well branched, medium shrub with healthy blue-green lustrous leaves. Creamy white flowers are produced in large cymes in early May, followed by colourful persistent fruit that evolve from green through red to black. Red and yellow autumn foliage colours are a welcome bonus from this excellent plant.

VIBURNUM erubescens 
An unusual species with particularly lovely foliage. The fragrant white flowers in June-July are flushed with pink and are held in panicles, which is unusual for a viburnum. In fact their scent on a warm summers evening can be almost overwhelming. Bright red berries follow the lovely flowers. Popular literature sometimes suggests that it is tender, but I can't imagine why - certainly I've seen no evidence of seems surprisingly happy in most parts of the country when planted appropriately. Tuck it amongst other shrubs and don't use it to make a windbreak! Having said that, however, it thrived on our exposed stock beds on heavy clay at our previous site as well as here, where we are well and truly windswept! Consider also V. henryi and their hybrid V. x hillieri 'Winton'. What a fabulous group they are.

VIBURNUM erubescens var. gracilipes 
This tough medium sized shrub is another of my favourites. Upright in habit, its long, open panicles of fragrant pinky white flowers are freely produced in July. It readily sets fruit which start red and ripen to black. This is so different from the species above that it is hard to believe it could be so closely related - for me, this one is nearer aesthetically to the farreri/grandiflora group. Yet it tallies exactly with the description Mike Dirr gives in his monograph. Perhaps the best known example of this unusual plant in this country is at Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent. 

A fantastic plant, it is a US National Arboretum Plant Introduction. V. x carlcephalum 'Cayuga' was crossed with V. utile in 1962. 5 years later, a selected seedling was self-pollinated. A further seedling was then selected for evaluation in 1975. It was 1981 before it was released and named "Eskimo". It is semi evergreen, taking time to form a compact rounded shrub of 3-4'. Snowball like flower heads are produced in May, made up of lots of pure white tubular flowers. It's a shame that it's not fragrant (sterile flower bracts never are) but it's worth planting nevertheless. 

VIBURNUM farreri 'December Dwarf'
We have two compact selections of this wonderful species. This one is the slightly more upright of the pair. As is typical of the species, it starts flowering in November, continuing right the way through the winter whenever the weather is a little milder. Although they grow happily in shade, they will all flower better in a sunny site. I love to add sprigs of the pinky-white pom-pom flowers to a Christmas table-centre, where its rich fragrance evokes promises of the season to come. Expect a little more than 1m tall by a little less wide.

VIBURNUM farreri 'Farrer's Pink' 
A fantastic form; potentially the largest of the cultivars we grow by some considerable margin; the deep pink buds open to pinker flowers than the species, from late autumn all through the winter. Sweetly scented. Upright growing into a large shrub but very tolerant of pruning. The bark is actually surprisingly showy, being a rich mahogany in colour. I've cleaned up and old specimen to reveal its multiple stems in all their glory, so it's now a handsome vase shape, creating lots of room around it for underplanting bulbs and spring ephemerals. 

VIBURNUM farreri 'Nanum' 
If your garden is too small for the other viburnums, then this could be the one for you with its dense mounded habit! The flowers are pink in bud opening white and deliciously scented. They start in November and continue all winter, and pick well too. This has the reverse proportions to 'December Dwarf', so by comparison will be a little shorter but potentially wider.

VIBURNUM x globosum 'Jermyns Globe' 
(V. davidii x V. calvum) This selection, found at Hilliers, differs from the typical hybrid in being denser and more rounded in habit. Though it has the potential to reach some 3m round, it responds well to pruning to keep it smaller. I first saw this one at RHS Rosemoor where I was attracted by its dense, tidy shape. I've subsequently noted a row of fine specimens at Knightshayes NT garden where mature plants have been cleaned up to create most effective and architectural miniature trees. It's a great way of rejuvenating tired shrubs, because the results can be aesthetically most pleasing as well as providing wonderful sheltered environments for winter bulbs beneath the evergreen canopy. The rich dark green leaves are deeply veined. Pink buds give way to heads of white flowers in May. Blue berries follow, and they can be unusually persistent, often remaining until the spring. Shade tolerant, but also happy in a sunnier site, this is one of my favourite viburnums, and one we've planted in the quarry to give a spot of localised winter protection. Great plant. 

VIBURNUM grandiflorum 
Related to V. farreri and resembling it in habit, this is a handsome large shrub. The fragrant flowers are larger, and are pinkish in bud, opening to almost pure white. A lovely addition to this wonderful winter flowering group.

Another addition in our quest for worthy evergreens. It was introduced from China by the famous Victorian plant hunter E.H.Wilson in 1901. Upright in habit, it has glossy green, leathery leaves. The white flowers are fragrant and are held in pyramidal panicles in June, followed by red berries which ripen to black.

VIBURNUM x hillieri 'Winton'
(V. erubescens x V. henryi) V. erubescens is one of my favourite viburnums, so it seemed natural to add this hybrid from it to our collection. A medium sized semi-evergreen, it will keep most of its leaves most of the winter, weather and location permitting. The attractive foliage is copper tinted when young and again through winter. Panicles of creamy- white flowers are profusely borne in June, followed by red berries which ripen to black. Another case of the longer I grow it, the more I like it!

VIBURNUM ichangense 
This compact plant has tiny leaves and clusters of pale pinky-white flowers in May-June. Best in a sunny well-drained site. Think of it as an altogether smaller and more refined variant of V. plicatum and you will start to understand its attraction. Delightful. 

VIBURNUM juddii 
(V. bitchiuense x V. carlesii) Smaller and denser in habit than V. carlesii, freely producing clusters of sweetly scented, pink-tinted flowers during April and May.

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