Friday, April 10, 2009
One of my favorite blooming shrubs in spring is the Shasta Virburnum (aka Doublefile Virburnum) (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum). I'll never forget the first time I saw one. We drove to Wilkerson Mill Gardens, a nursery near Atlanta, to buy hydrangeas and there was one blooming in a field in the distance. It was magnificent and of course I had to have one.
It doesn't have the space it needs in our garden to attain the beauty of the one I saw at the nursery but it always blooms nicely. It was getting so large that it was reaching up into the limbs of the trees growing near it. I reluctantly decided to prune it last year and I'm afraid that I probably ruined the tiered effect that it normally has. It is still a very striking shrub. Beautiful berries appear later in the summer and are quickly devoured by the birds.
This particular viburnum was developed by Dr. Donald Egolf in the 1960s at the U.S. National Arboretum. He crossed an unnamed seedling with 'Mariesii', a popular variety still often found in nurseries, and it was finally released in 1979.