July 24, 2017

Gardening Week: 15th Jan 2017 Boris Legarni


I begin with a quote from Xenia Field’s book on gardening  that says it all –  “Viburnum fragrans presents pink apple blossom flowers from November to March. A twig on the mantelpiece will fill the room with sweet scent”. – the book was first published in 1973 by Octopus Books, but it is still just as relevant today.  After my house was modernised some years ago, I no longer have a mantelpiece but the same scent has filled my dining room for the past week from the vase on the table.


Flower of the week from YOUR garden to YOUR table:  15th   Jan. 2017.

Botanical  Name: Viburnum.   

This week I purposely did not fill in the full botanical name in the heading to the article because there are many similar ones that you can choose from. The idea is to have flowers at this otherwise cold and flowerless time of the year, so it is important to avoid the many other species of Viburnum that flower during spring and summer.  The varieties that flower are deciduous so all we have to look at  is twigs and flowers, bare and beautiful.

viburnum-winterHere is a list of the varieties to look out for;

 Viburnum Farreri, has a RHS Award of Garden Merit, and will flower in late Autumn, again in early spring and during mild spells through the winter.

Viburnum Foetens which is most probably the one that is pictured above, bears its flowers during the depth of winter and continues flowering into the spring.

Both of the above bear tubular flowers in small clusters along there stems they are usually pink or white. Although the scent is strong the flowers clusters are small. For larger flower clusters go for Viburnum x bodnantense, this variety is a cross between Viburnum farreri and Viburnum Grandiflorum (as the x in its name implies ), it has much larger clusters of flowers and some varieties have a strong pink colour.

Although the ultimate height of the bush is around 3m, it will flower long before this height and it can be annually pruned to keep it as a lower bush. During spring the glossy linear leaves emerge, you can mistake them for an evergreen leaf but as autumn approaches you will be proven otherwise. The first two species listed will bear small spherical blue berries in the Autumn, but don’t expect any fruit on the hybrid bodnantnense. 


Buying Guide;

The most common winter flowering Viburnum available is Viburnum x bodnantense, Dawn , and as it holds a RHS Award of Garden Merit it is one of the best. The pink flowers  fade to white with age and are born in large clusters. Thompson and Morgan sell a single 9cm pot @ £9.99  and 3 for £19.99.  (A saving of £9.98).  J. Parkers sell a single 9cm pot @ £6.99 and 2 for £11.99. (A saving of only £1.99, but which is better value for your money?!)

Boris Legarni.

About The Author

Profile photo of Boris Legarni

Boris inherited his green fingers from his mother, who was still planting potatoes and rhubarb in the sixties as she was afraid that they would once again be rationed. As a teenager he used to plant radishes in the corner of the school garden and sell them during break time for sixpence, to give his classmates a healthy crunchy snack. He and his wife both have had an allotment for years, but there is no competition – he does the planting and she does the harvesting and cooking. With a passion for growing anything edible, Boris has planted dozens of named fruit trees in his orchard. Nevertheless he is an avid flower arranger, and assists local communities and charities with his flower arrangements. Boris tells us that after so many years on the allotment he has made all the mistakes possible, and he will share with you his practice to make yours perfect!

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