Options abound for working on landscape

I live in Orchard Mesa and am working on a plan for next spring. I’m looking for a large viburnum to plant on the north end of my yard. It would receive some morning and late afternoon sun. I want privacy screening, good fragrance and berries for the birds. Which do you recommend?

— Joe

Viburnums are a wonderful landscape plant that I think is under-used here in western Colorado. They are showy, adaptable plants that often give three seasons of color in the yard: flowers in spring, berries in summer and good fall color. Most will grow from full sun to bright shade with little care other than regular watering. There are a number of good viburnums that you could choose from. Here are some choices to consider:

■ “Alleghany” grows 8 to 12 feet tall and wide with an upright rounded growth habit. The dark green, leathery, semi-evergreen foliage with silvery undersides is closely held to the stout branches. Creamy-white flowers in clusters in late spring. Bright red berries in late summer turning a shiny black by late fall. Hardy to 15 below zero.

■ “Burkwood” gets 6 to 10 feet tall with an equal spread. It has a loose, open growth with shiny, dark green, semi-evergreen leaves with dull silver undersides. Very fragrant, dense flower clusters, pink in bud opening to white in midspring. Hardy to 15 below zero.

■ “Compact European” is a smaller variety, getting 4 to 6 feet tall with an equal spread. It has a compact, rounded, slightly spreading growth habit. Bright apple green foliage turns maroon red in fall. Small white flowers in rounded clusters in late spring followed by red berries. Hardy to 35 below zero.

■ “Korean spice” grows 5 to 7 feet tall and wide with a dense, rounded growth habit. The plant has soft, gray-green foliage that turns a brilliant red in fall. Extremely fragrant, dome-shaped clusters of white flowers in early spring have a spicy, clove scent. Hardy to 25 below zero.

■ “Mohican” grows to 6 feet tall by 6 to 8 feet wide. Compact growing shrub with heavy, dark green leaves. Creamy-white, flat-topped flowers cover the plant in late April to early May. Orange-red fruit follow the flowers in early July, lasting about a month before turning black in fall. Leaves turn a purple-bronze color in fall. Good hedge plant. Hardy to 35 below zero

■ “Onondaga” grows 6 to 8 feet tall. Rounded, globe-shaped growth habit. New foliage emerges a velvety maroon and matures to a deep green with a purple tint, then turning to brilliant maroon-red in fall. Attractive purple flower clusters edged with white ray flowers in late spring. Hardy to 25 below zero.

■ “Common snowball” grows to 10 feet tall and wide with an upright, fountain-like growth habit. It has spectacular, pure-white, snowball-like flower clusters in late spring. Bright green foliage turns red in fall. No berries, as the flowers are sterile. Hardy to 35 below zero.

If you really want fragrance, then you want to go with either burkwood or Korean spice viburnums. They both have a wonderful fragrance. I have both in my yard. Burkwood is very sweet and a wonderful plant, but the Korean spice just fills the yard with fragrance. It grows slower than burkwood and doesn’t get as big, but it is a thicker, denser-growing plant.

Dennis Hill is the nursery manager at Bookcliff Gardens, bookcliffgardens.com. Send questions to Bookcliff Gardens, 755 26 Road, Grand Junction 81506; or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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