Ex­pert’s choice

Win­ter vibur­nums

Gardeners' World - - Contents -

There are two main fea­tures we re­quire of win­ter shrubs: flow­ers and fra­grance. They have to stand the worst the win­ter can throw at them, and if their fo­liage is at­trac­tive and ev­er­green or if their au­tumn berries hang on into win­ter, so much the bet­ter. Vibur­nums fit the bill and there is quite a choice. They fall into three dis­tinct groups and it would be no bad thing if we had one plant from each. For fra­grant flow­ers, the forms of twiggy and de­cid­u­ous Vibur­num x bod­nan­tense stand out. The four or five va­ri­eties avail­able are sim­i­lar and you’ll be pleased with any named form. The pink buds open to scented white flow­ers at any time from Novem­ber to March and oc­ca­sion­ally all the way through. Ever­greens form an­other group and V. ti­nus, one of the tough­est shrubs known to gar­den­ers, is a de­pend­able win­ter es­sen­tial. I pre­fer ‘Gwen­l­lian’ for pro­duc­ing flow­ers and berries to­gether, but ‘Spirit’ is neater. Va­ri­eties that hold their berries into win­ter make up the third group. They bring a dif­fer­ent style and sev­eral colours, but you can never tell how long the berries will last be­fore the birds fin­ish them off.

Po­si­tion Best in full sun, but happy in a lit­tle dap­pled shade. Har­di­ness All are hardy, but de­cid­u­ous flow­er­ing types are best shaded from win­ter morn­ing sun. Height x Spread 2-4m x 1.5-4m Care Most soils are suit­able, but avoid wa­ter­logged and parched con­di­tions, and pre­pare well, adding com­post or soil im­prover. Prun­ing is usu­ally un­nec­es­sary but, if their size needs re­duc­ing, make your cuts af­ter flow­er­ing in early spring. Mulch with weed-free or­ganic mat­ter in au­tumn. Where to buy Burn­coose Nurs­eries, burn­coose.co.uk, 01209 860316; Cro­cus, cro­cus.co.uk, 01344 578111; Larch Cot­tage Nurs­eries, larch­cot­tage.co.uk, 01931 712404

PLANT DI­REC­TORY Find the per­fect vibur­num for your gar­den by us­ing our plant fin­der at gar­den­er­sworld.com/ plant-fin­der

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