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Viburnums: Tough And Beautiful

by Shelly Nold

CHOOSING ONE OF THE MANY VIBURNUMS available today for your garden can be a daunting task. They are known for consistent and profuse flowering, and many also have consistent and heavy fruit production. Choosing just one of these tough beauties for your garden may be the challenge.

HARDY IN USDA ZONES 4-8, the Viburnum dilatatum, or Linden Viburnum, is a medium-sized shrub that can grow 8 to 10 feet in height. When young, they tend to be slightly taller than wide; with maturity, they switch to being wider than tall. Their medium size makes them suitable for a wide range of applications in the garden.

THE FLOWERS ARE WHITE AND SMALL—one-quarter inch in diameter—and held in a cyme, or flat-topped flower cluster. Flowering typically occurs in mid-May. Small oval fruit replace each flower and begin to turn bright red in September. The color persists into the early winter but can become more muted or pink with severe cold temperatures. By January the fruit will begin to shrivel, but can still be seasonally showy.

THE SIMPLE BUT COARSELY TEXTURED LEAVES are dark green, slightly glossy, and 2 to 5 inches long in summer. Leaves hold well into the fall and turn a muted to bronze red.

THREE OF THE MOST COMMONLY AVAILABLE Linden Viburnums are: Catskill, growing only 5 feet tall and twice as wide, with yellow to orange fall color; Erie, with small but consistently heavy fruiting; and Mt. Airy, with super glossy thick leaves and obviously larger fruit. You could not go wrong with any of the three.

Shelly Nold is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.



ASK THE GARDENER

by Angie McManus

I have three white pine trees that I have not planted. Can I over-winter them in their 5-gallon pots outside against the house, in the garage, or in the basement?

We can plant evergreens throughout the year as long as the ground is not frozen. Fall planting is ideal but if this is not feasible, keeping them in their nursery pots and over-wintering them outdoors is the next best option.

They will need to be protected from the winter weather, and insulating them is a good idea. Group them together, close to the house, so they will benefit from the radiant heat. Putting bales of pine straw or bags of mulch around them will help to insulate them. They do go dormant, but if Mother Nature does not provide moisture, they will need to be hand watered every couple of weeks.

Another option is planting them in the ground in their nursery pots. This will still require digging a large hole, but that will help insulate the evergreens and keep the soil at a more consistent temperature. In the spring, you can lift them from the soil, remove them from their pots, and plant them.

Bringing them indoors is not a good option. They need to go through their dormancy period and indoor temperatures will not allow for this.



HAVE A GARDENING QUESTION?

Go to www.KentuckyLiving.com, click on Home & Garden, then “Ask The Gardener.”

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