Plant of the Month – December 2011

This months Plant of the Month could have been last month’s, and could be a candidate for next month or even February and into March, it flowers for that long. Please give a big round of applause for…

Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' close-up of flower

The delicate pink flowers start appearing mid autumn and keep on appearing throughout winter and into the Spring. Like other Viburnum x bodnantense flowers they smell like a good mead to my nose, which doesn’t help you if you have never tried mead (which is a fermented honey drink of about wine-ish strength and in my opinion the drink of the gods). So perhaps I should just say they smell like a rich and velvety honey.

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont'

It’s definitely a shrub to enjoy from close up as its general form is not particularly elegant and in Summer it’s distinctly boring. ‘Charles Lamont’ sends branches up from the base so the oldest can be periodically cleared out to keep it young and uncluttered. It prefers some sun and a well drained, fertile soil (don’t we all?) and the one I’ve pictured is growing on a west facing terrace in our fairly heavy clay.

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' close up of buds

Its gentle smattering of flowers through the season can be kicked it into a higher gear by a mild spell and it’s very cheering to see its delicate pink flowers at a time of year when the gloom can get a bit much.

Another common Viburnum x bodnantense variety is ‘Dawn’ with brighter pink flowers (although they’re not exactly garish) and everything I’ve said about Charlie also applies to Dawn, I just happen to prefer Charlie’s palest of pale blush pinks. Also I think he might just flower a wee bit longer, judging by the specimens of both in the garden – but that might be aspect or micro-climate so I’m not certain.

So if you’ve got a spot within sniffing distance of a path, reasonable soil and need some winter cheer you won’t regret a Viburnum x bodnantense (except maybe when its being boring in the summer, but hey, most things are boring all Winter!)

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9 responses to “Plant of the Month – December 2011

  1. What a lovely versatile plant with flowers and scent…very nice

  2. I love Viburnum, every last one of them. So do the birds.

  3. One for me to invest in next year. Anything which gives flowers at this time is fab…with the added bonus of scent too…gotta be a winner.

  4. What an excellent post on a much overlooked shrub

  5. I have ‘Dawn’ in my front garden. It is a beautiful scent. If there are any stems in flower on Christmas Eve I’m going to pick a few for the house as a Christmas treat.

  6. Lovely; the bodnantenses are just gorgeous. I don’t know what mine is – I inherited it – but it’s also been blooming for ages and will carry on for another couple of months. It’s enormous, though – but I fear what pruning may do…

    • I think you’re fairly safe with viburnums as they send up new branches from the base – you could certainly take out the oldest one third of branches in the dormant season if you want to. Good luck!

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