We’re only a couple of weeks away from this deciduous, woody shrub offering fragrant white blossoms in the earliest of spring. Native to China, the fragrant white viburnum (Viburnum farreri ‘Candidissimum’) is covered with flat topped, white, dome-shaped bloom clusters that have a prominent, “sweetly spicy” scent that is quite noticeable. Early pollinators will visit this shrub in bloom. All of these photos are from a beautiful specimen I’ve been observing at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI for many years. These photos are all in the first portion of April when this shrub blooms very early and perfumes the air. We now have three at RBG although I haven’t seen them bloom yet (soon enough) as they were planted “post bloom”.! Their hardiness rating is listed as a Z5 but I speculate that cold winters will create some dieback on the branches. Also called Farrer viburnum and fragrant guelder, this woody plant will ultimately be 6-8′ tall and 4-5′ wide. It has an arching form and while it tolerates both full sun and part shade, it will have a fuller form in more sunlight. This viburnum likes moist, well-drained sols and ultimately would prefer a slightly acidic pH if offered. Later in the summer, yellow berries emerge that transition to red and then black. The fall color is an unimpressive yellow.
We had another productive Thursday with plenty of activity. Cindy, Larry H. and Larry O. had myriad grounds staff duties. Dr. Gredler and Alan worked on painting while Dave T., Jim, Steve, Ron Y. and Bobby K. worked on carpentry projects. Dick H. helped with a variety of projects and Kathy P. processed some plants for our Spring Symposium this Saturday. Steve E. was out mulching in the parking lot and Peg came in to work on labels. We also saw Bill O., Dave K., Jim H. and many others today.