Tag Archives: viburnum carlesii

Fall color on Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’

Quick one today.

The fall color on my Viburnum carlesii  ‘Aurora’ has been incredible for over a month now.

It gets better and better each year.

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I wrote a post about this gem a few years back – Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ – and continue to recommend it as a must have shrub based on the fall foliage alone.

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It started changing color back in early September and is one of the few plants with its leaves still in place today.

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One flower, one foliage and one fail

THE FLOWER – nothing carries a more powerful scent in the garden right now than the flowers of Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ (Koreanspice viburnum). When people knock at my door, I take my time answering just so I can watch their nose twitch a bit, see them turn around and try to locate the origin of the smell and then eventually ask “What smells so good out here?” 

viburnum aurora

 

THE FOLIAGE – This is my first year with Sambucus racemosa ‘Lemony Lace’ (Elderberry) planted in the garden (was in a container last year) and it was the quickest of all the deciduous shrubs to emerge this spring. I’m in love with it even at only a foot in height right now.

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THE FAIL – The Eastern Tent Caterpillars are back on the Crabapple tree for a second consecutive year. Last year I simply slashed open the “nests” and let the birds have their way with the caterpillars and the tree seemed unaffected by it all. Will do more of the same this year.

bag of bugs

An early spring garden tour

Even with temperatures dipping into the 40’s here in Central New Jersey and wind gusts of up to 40 mph, I still managed to spend a good deal of time in the great outdoors garden on Sunday. There was still dead perennial foliage to be removed, a first wave of weeds to eradicate and the never ending task of cutting down all of the ornamental grasses. When there is an available window of time for garden chores, you take it, no questions asked.

After the “tasks” were completed for the day, I grabbed the camera and did my best to capture what’s going on. Things seem to have slowed down a bit in the garden after the colder weather arrived this past week but there are still signs that we are in fact moving forward. And that is a good thing.

Bud break on the Viburnum ‘Amber Jubilee’ promises stellar foliage is coming in the very near future.

viburnum emerging

 

Same goes for the Sambucus ‘Lemony Lace’ which lived comfortably in a container last season but has now made the jump to the big leagues and is in a very prominent spot in the garden.

emerging foliage

 

Variegated Siberian Iris will enjoy it’s first spring in my garden and here’s hoping it enjoys it’s stay.

emerging iris

 

Bee Balm rosettes threaten to take over all other perennials and I’m OK with sitting back and watching how it will all play out.

emerging bee balm

 

Daylilies … um … are green or whatever.

daylily emerging

 

The cool season ornamental grasses are showing signs of life as seen here with Calamagrostis ‘El Dorado’.

grass emerging

 

The buds on Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ have turned to their usual pre-blooming pinkish hue and it won’t be long before that killer scent is wafting in my front windows and carrying me away to my happy place.

viburnum bud

 

I couldn’t bring myself to cut down the Panicum ‘Northwind’ yet. With nothing but cold temps and wind on the horizon, I still need to watch them dance a bit more before I can bid them goodbye.

northwind blowing

 

And on to the bulbs.

Daffodils, not the most original and unique of blooms but it is still color and they come back without fail year after year after year. An underrated attribute I do not take for granted.

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More Narcissus not too far away.

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Leucojum aestivum (Summer Snowflake) is starting to bloom and is one of the few bulbs that can withstand wet soil conditions over the winter. Hence, I have got a lot of it. Loved how the back lit sun was captured here.

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The Hyacinth blooms are mini in stature but I’m just psyched that they came back at all again this year. It is the first time I’ve had repeat bloomers. It’s the little things that make me happy.

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Through the Seasons

Each season has its own unique beauty in the garden and dammit, that is why I love this gardening thing so much. It is never dull and in constant motion in a wonderfully subtle way.

With that theme in mind, there are some photo sets below depicting the same section of garden at different times this year. The first photo in each set is from current day. The subsequent photos then move backwards in time throughout the 2014 gardening season.

Enjoy.

Eupatorium maculatum (Joe Pye Weed) in front of Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’:

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joe pye

grass

joe pye and miscanthus

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Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’, Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’, Miscanthus purpurascens (Flame Grass) and Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’:

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garden

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Panicum ‘Rots’, Viburnum bracteatum ‘Emerald Lustre’, Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’:

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grasses fall color

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grasses

yard

ornamental grass snow

 

Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’, Purple coneflower, Perovskia (Russian Sage):

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Similar plants as listed above but from a different angle:

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Barberry, Iris versicolor, Clethra ‘Hummingbird’, Monarda (Bee Balm), etc.:

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A little bit of everything:

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garden

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Looking through Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’ to the aforementioned Joe Pye Weed/Miscanthus combo:

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garden

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Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’

After a long, cold and brutal winter, is there anything better than the sweet scent of flowers in spring? The correct answer is “yes” with baseball spring training a close second and NCAA March Madness a distant 3rd. There is no argument in regards to this answer.

For me, the sweetest smelling flower in spring is hands down Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’.

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Typically this shrub is in full bloom by mid April here in zone 6B New Jersey and it is a welcome sight along with all of the spring bulbs in bloom. Beyond the bloom show, it signifies that warmer weather is on the horizon and that the cold weather will soon be a distant memory.

Here are some more deets and photos on my beautiful relationship with this gem.

I purchased this shrub as a tiny little guy (approximately six inches in height) back in 2009 from Bluestone Perennials. It didn’t take long to establish as here she is back in 2011.

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While it took shape early on, the deer nipped off at least half of the buds each fall/winter.

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I would get blooms each spring, but they were sporadic. I knew she could deliver more.

I had the shrub located in a more hidden part of my garden so I made the executive decision in spring of 2013 to move it into a more prominent location where I didn’t expect the deer to find it. With fingers securely crossed, it has thrived and the deer have left it alone.

Here is a timeline for this Viburnum starting in late winter/early spring:

The buds start to show a hint of color in March.

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Then the pink buds really start to take form in early April.

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Soon after, the shrub is covered in pink buds.

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And then one day … boom. Full blown blooms and full blown heavenly scent.

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As I was compiling this post, I realized that more often than not, the dandelions in the lawn were blooming at the same time. No significance here really, just an observation. Moving on …

While ‘Aurora’ is in full bloom, it creates a “white garden” in my front bed along with the blooming Mt. Hood daffodils. It also helps take the eye away from the recently cut down ornamental grasses.

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The bloom period is rather short – maybe two weeks – but it is worth the bang for the buck in spring.

From May through mid October, this Viburnum still looks great, it just takes a back seat to all of the summer blooming shrubs and perennials.

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But then by mid October, big show #2 hits with the fantastic fall color.

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It has become a focal point in perfect view as visitors walk up my front walkway and to the front door.

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And as a bonus, I get to dream of the following spring as the buds have formed and stand in nice contrast to the wine red foliage color.

Dreaming of next spring’s Viburnum blooms already #garden #plants

A photo posted by john markowski (@jmarkowski0) on

A few additional bits of info before we call it a day:

  • Size – on average it is 5′ x 5′
  • Sun requirements – Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil requirements – Well drained in any soil type – works in my wetter clay soil
  • Zones – 4 to 8
  • Pruning – only immediately after blooming for shaping purposes
  • Native to Korea
  • Introduced in 1958
  • Many sites claim it is deer resistant but mine has been nipped over the years

Best Fall Foliage Plants

Today we’ll take a look at my best fall foliage plants.

This list only includes plants I have lived with and experienced in my own garden .

Amsonia tabernaemontana (Blue Star)
The more well known Amsonia hubrictii has a much more impressive autumn color but I only added them to my own garden this past spring and it is too soon for me to share any photos of them.

Tabernaemontana still is impressive in its own right as the fall foliage color starts as a pale yellow and develops into an eye catching orange hue.

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amsonia-fall-color

best fall foliage plants

 

Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’
I have quite a few different Viburnum shrubs (some real young and still small) and to date, this has been the best autumn performer. Each individual leaf starts to transform slowly to a maroon color starting at the end of September and the majority of the leaves remain on the plant until the end of October here in zone 6B.

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best fall foliage plants

 

Fothergilla ‘Mt. Airy’
This deciduous shrub, while interesting in early spring with its white bottlebrush blooms, really stands out in the fall with that kick butt orange foliage color. I’ve added a few more this year to really up the impact each autumn.

best fall foliage plants

 

Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Northwind’
This ornamental grass and PPA award winner may not be thought of as a fall foliage plant, but that yellow color works for me as the perfect complement to the more common red fall foliage color of other plants.

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Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet) ‘Hummingbird’
Another shrub not thought of as a fall performer, but again, I like to mix in that yellow/gold color wherever I can.

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Itea (Virginia Sweetspire) ‘Henry’s Garnet’
This shrub, by far, has the greatest red fall color of any plant currently residing in my garden. The fall color starts subtly in August and then kicks it into overdrive by early September. The leaves start to fall off in mid October with a few remaining as late as Thanksgiving.

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Miscanthus purpurascens (Flame Grass) 
Another ornamental grass, this one takes color to all new heights. Just look at all of the color shades represented in those blades. It is the plant that draws the most attention/questions from onlookers from August through October.

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We’ve got blooms

Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’:

 

 

 

Trollius (Globeflower) ‘Orange Princess’:

 

 

 

Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox) ‘Emerald Blue’:

 

Ajuga (Bugleweed) ‘Chocolate Chip’:

Not necessarily a bloom, but still a cool shot of a peony:

OK, no blooms again, just sun + green = happiness:

And the daffodils are hanging on:

 

Emerging foliage of spring

Spring refuses to fully embrace itself so we continue to move at a snail’s pace out in the garden. But the plants are finally revealing their emerging foliage, almost out of fear.

Like Crataegus viridis (Hawthorn) ‘Winter King’:

And Betula nigra (River Birch):

Some of the deciduous shrubs have finally shown emerging foliage, like this Cornus sericea (Redtwig Dogwood):

And Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’:

A few perennials decided to finally make an appearance. Hello Cimicifuga (Bugbane) ‘Pink Spire’:

Peonies unfurling at their own steady pace:

 

Now there has been some serious progress on other fronts. Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ buds have turned full blown pink and look phenomenal: 

 

 

Speaking of this Viburnum. I count today as its first day of having “interest” and it will continue to do provide such “interest” all the way into early November. If you do the math, that is almost seven months of interest. And that means it is fantastic 7/12 of the year. And that translates to a 58% “interest” rate which I might just calculate for every plant I own and add it to the plant spreadsheet.

Just thought you should know that.

While we are at it, let’s enjoy the emerging foliage of the Astilbes:

And the buds on Fothergilla ‘Mount Airy’

 

 

And finally, the tulips I’ve successfully grown in containers (hand pats back):

Good stuff, right? Well now let’s move over to the not so good or potentially not so good.

My Amelanchier (Serviceberry) ‘Autumn Brilliance’ is blooming:

But from a larger view, eh:

But more importantly, or more annoyingly, we have some serious bare legs:

I understand that this is the nature of this tree, but this extreme? I need to work on this one in some way.

Do I worry about this? Tent caterpillars?

I’m all for letting nature take its course, but not at the expense of my beloved Crabapple tree. More to come.

And finally, I am already regretting not strongly pruning the Salix (Dappled Willow) ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ in early spring. That awesome variegation is missing:

 

Look at the same shrub from only two years ago:

Chalk it up to experience and a new task added to the 2015 ledger.