Saturday, May 05, 2007

Burkwood Viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii)

Burkwood Viburnum
Viburnum x burkwoodii
(vy-BUR-num) (berk-WOOD-ee-eye)

I thought the Viburnums were in the Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) but just found out that they are now part of Adoxaceae, which has about 200 species in 3 genera. The Viburnums and Elders (Sambucus) are two of the main shrubs in the family.

I have been growing Burkwood Viburnum for a long time and it has seldom, if ever, disappointed me. They like a humusy, rich, moist soil and can grow in sun or part shade. I have seen them grow nicely on the north side of the house in a little more than part shade. It does to better in full sun as the foliage is a little glossier and there are more flowers. The main reason for growing this plant is the wonderful fragrant flowers. They bloom early in the spring (here) and can often perfume an entire garden area. There are several other attributes that make growing it worthwhile. The foliage, which is a lighter color underneath, is nice with some of the leaves exhibiting fall color and the rest staying semi-evergreen. This plant also exhibits deer resistance to a point. I have found if the deer are really hungry they will eat the tips of the bottom branches. The branching habit is quite low but often times I will trim them up for a more upright shape and some gardening room underneath. The estate has a big playground and I planted a row of Burkwoods which has done great. I under planted them with some Banded and Red Mountain Laurel cultivars (Kalmia latifolia) and that has worked out well. All together they probably have about 25-30 species and cultivars of Viburnum. Generally, pruning a Burkwood is a bit of a pain because it is hard to get it to retain its original shape. The plant pictured here today was planted right next to the edge of a wooden deck and while it was nice it just grew too large. I was constantly pruning it and I don’t like to have to do that. So last year, after considering it for about 3 years, I transplanted it to a new location along the edge of the woods. It survived and is blooming very well this year. I hope to let it grow out a bit and hope it looks more natural. One thing I have learned about planting Viburnums is to give them enough space. The plant tags don’t always tell the truth on Viburnum. If they are happy then can often double the height listed. For instance Burkwoodii is often listed growing 6 to 10 feet. Some of my plants are 14 feet and still growing and would be taller if I hadn’t been pruning the tops. I am not saying this happens with every Viburnum but just be aware that many of the species can get really big. Overall this plant is an easy to grow classic that will add years of enjoyment to your garden.

I have posted several pictures today, mainly because I have nothing else to do :lol:. I am trying to expand my photographic horizons by taking some photos that I would not normally take. I want to try and use shadows a bit more. I have been looking at a lot of great photography lately and I noticed that quite o few photographers use shadows to enhance their images. I am also trying to take a slightly broader view of the plant I am trying to photograph instead of just a macro view. I still have so much to learn about taking good garden shots and I know experimentation is a good way to learn.

Here is a picture of Variegated Privet. I haven’t figured out which species it is. It is different then the normal Variegated Japanese Privet that I am growing elsewhere. This has a yellowish/gold band margin as opposed to the other Privet’s creamy white border. The green is also darker and the foliage is more glossy. This shrub is smaller growing also. I didn’t quite frame this picture the way I would if I could take it over again. I would have left a little more space on the left.

So I am feeling much better but am still a bit under the weather. It really stinks to have a bad cold this time of the year and I don’t know for sure but I think the pollen is aggravating it. I have today and tomorrow off and will probably just rest and get ready for a big Monday.


Anonymous said...

I had a gorgeous burkwoodi that I killed last year by smothering it with compost.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your thorough explanation of the Burkwood Virburnum!! I bought seven of them today, and afterwards was a little worried that they wouldn't suit my needs. After reading what you wrote here, I feel I've made a great choice! Thanks a LOT for blogging about this!

Happy Planting!