Some plant genera are so diverse that you scratch your head wondering how they put them together. (Okay, originally they put them together based largely on floral parts and other obvious physical characteristics, enabling one to “key” out a plant. Now, plants are moved about based on DNA.)
Viburnums are, or were, part of the Caprifoliaceae family whose defining characteristics include opposite leaves with swollen nodes. Now, based on DNA, Viburnums are in the family Adoxaceae, which I’ve never even heard of – maybe it is newly created – and I certainly have no idea what its common floral characteristics are. From a plant id point of view, basing what family a plant is in on commonly visible floral characteristics is great, basing it on DNA doesn’t really tell me diddly.
I digress. V. rhytidifolium or leatherleaf viburnum is evergreeen and hardy to a surprising Zone 5, although Dirr says it may die back to the ground in “severe” winters. It may be hardy but it definitely can get petulant. Last year, the long run of frost and cold in January left mine with an unhappy, hangdog appearance (see photo above): leaves limp and turned every which way. Even the cold of the last few days has caused it to drop leaves and droop. Still, it’s a plant I like, partly because it is uncommon, partly because at least in its youth it tends to stay fairly narrow and partly because the leaves are an excellent contrast for a host of other plants.
VIBURNUM RHYTIDIFOLIUM FAST FACTS
- Likes fairly deep shade to sun although in hotter climes it definitely wants some shade and water
- Here in Seattle, they seem pretty drought tolerant once established but perhaps mine would be happier in the winter cold if I treated it better in the summer drought.
- 10-15′ x less wide to begin with, seeming to gain girth at the expense of height as they get older.
- Large, rough leaves -dark green on the top, whitish below – make a nice textural contrast with finer leaved plants
- Small but abundant flowers held in flat cymes for a showy effect. Flowers in spring but sets buds in late summer to fall so it adds some winter interest.
I’ve always lusted a bit after this tree and when I looked I saw that the only time I’ve written about it was in October – not its best time. So here it is at one of its finest moments, glowing -in a subdued, autumnal way – wearing nothing but its berries. You can see why its common name is Golden Raindrops. I’ll try to remember to get one of the spring flowers next year!
For my original post on this crabapple, go here.
Photo taken 10/15/2013
My daughter has been taxed with analyzing a book chock full of metaphors for school and they really piss her off so I’m sure she’d find a plant called love-lies-bleeding worthy of an eye roll whereas most people find it charming. It certainly comes across as very Victorian. Read more »
I’m not sure I approve of Arbutus unedo’s habit of having flowers and fruit simultaneously. I like plants that give showy flowers and fruit (not that Arbutus flowers are near the top of the list when it come to showy but at least they are at least plentiful and noticeable) but why do it at the same time? It just seems wasteful. Read more »
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Kleine Silberspinne’
Photo courtesy of the RHS webstie
Ah, miscanthus, beautiful in flower, imposing, lending a fine, graceful vertical note to the garden. Ooh, Miscanthus, on the invasive species list in 25 states. I’m not as fond of big grasses as I used to be (see post) mostly because you have to divide them every year or two and if you don’t, you’re screwed. Read more »
delphinium, cultivar unknown
Delphiniums were one of the first flowers I grew – so tall, so imposing, so deliciously blue – how could they not be one of my first choices when I took to gardening? Other blues have called over the years – some grown and some still to be grown: Gentiana, Lobelia, Clematis, Nigella, Ceratostigma – oh those alluring blues that beckon us so much more than white or pink or yellow. Be it rarity or be it something else, pretty much everyone seems to crave some blue flowers in their garden. Read more »
C. lacteus nicely pruned into a tree form.
The berry period for Cotoneaster lacteus is pretty long, clearly it is well-started now and if you go to this post, you can see it in December and February as well. Clearly, this plant calls to my attention when there are berries more than when there are flowers (not that the flowering period is bad). I’ll try hard to get out and get some shots of the plant in flower this spring.
Pieris japonica 10/20/2013
Pieris japonica, that quintessential Seattle plant, blooms in February/March with a cascade of white bells but it ornaments itself before Christmas in an array of red/pink buds. Read more »
Not an herbaceous perennial or annual to be seen in this planting but isn’t it glorious right now? If you want a low maintenance planting for sun that looks nice year-round and peaks at an unexpected time, this is it. Let’s take it plant by plant, starting from the left. Read more »
When I saw this plant I thought, “Oh yeah, yeah, this that cool Cryptomeria,” but what was its name? My id skills aren’t what they used to be. A hunt through my old id cards led me to Cryptomeria japonica ‘Spiralis’ but a close look at the branches showed that they aren’t that spirally – but not all ‘Spiralis’ are so I’m sticking with that id unless someone out there can correct me. Read more »