Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Doublefile Viburnum Angels

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, Doublefile Viburnum, Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii'

Hello Fellow Readers, I am thrilled to report the robin mentioned last week did indeed nest in the Doublefile Viburnum outside our kitchen window. Perhaps the same robin that nested there last year. Both momma and poppa robin are involved in the homemaking and childrearing, though momma robin plays the primary role in making the nest and sitting vigil on the eggs. They say they can return to a spot if they’ve had successful broods prior.

Mr. & Mrs. Robin call the Doublefile Viburnum Home
Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone, Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, Doublefile Viburnum, Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii'

Doublefile Viburnum

I adore the shrub they call home. It was my dear Sara’s favorite nap spot long ago. An angel sculpture sits there now with two tennis balls formerly in play. Sara was a serious ball-aholic, unlike our rescue Miss Ellie, though I giggled when she grabbed a tennis ball for a toss or two from time to time.

It’s a common mistake to plant young plants too close to the foundation. It would be best to consider the mature width and height, and space accordingly. I did just that. Per Michael Dirr, the guru of trees and shrubs and author of the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’ grow eight to ten feet tall and nine to twelve feet wide at maturity. A twelve-foot wide shrub means it will grow six feet on each side of the trunk. So, planting Sara’s viburnum eight feet from the house was appropriate, providing a two-foot buffer for wiggle room. Besides, I knowingly chose the plant to train into a small tree – limbing it up by pruning off the lower branches. That way, I could plant shade-loving perennials and ferns below.

I think Sara’s mojo may have boosted the growth.

I think Sara’s mojo may have boosted the growth. Her Doublefile Viburnum is far more significant than the anticipated size despite annual pruning. Once a plant reaches the desired size, you can prune the new growth each year right after they bloom to maintain its size. Every year I do just that, and it quickly grows back and then some every year.

White vibrunum flower petal on a maroon coral bell

Palace Purple Coral Bells with an angel from above.

nest of neborn baby robinsShe’s in full bloom now, with snowflakes of flowers dancing atop her limbs. I adore how her branches are broad-reaching like the arms of a graceful ballerina. While I don’t wish to rush things, I love when the flower petals fall, leaving what looks like tiny angels dancing on the glossy maroon leaves of the Palace Purple Coral Bells planted below (Heuchera micrantha’ Palace Purple’).

This year’s annual pruning will have to wait until after Mr. & Mrs. Robin’s babies fledge the nest, about fourteen to sixteen days after they hatch. There’s no rush. Instead, let’s relish the miracle of life. Garden Dilemmas?

Column Updated 5/22/22

Speaking of viburnum- You’ll enjoy a previous column titled Reasons to Prune and Episode 16 of the Garden Dilemmas Podcast, which features the baby robin story. 

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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