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Garden Reports and Rejoicing – August 14

It’s the middle of August and I have a Viburnum in bloom. If you’re familiar with this shrub you’ll know that most Viburnums bloom in the late spring. This variety flowers heavily in late May and early June, but it continues to bloom into the summer. Hence the name, ‘Summer Snowflake.’

This shrub is the poster child for staying open to new types of plants. Admittedly, it can sometimes be exhausting to stay abreast of all the new introductions that come out every season. New shrubs that are shorter, have colorful foliage or longer periods of bloom cry for our attention. Fresh perennials with larger, fluffier, more colorful or earlier flowers say “choose me!” The latest annuals are no different: bigger, better, brighter, and stronger.

Occasionally I hear people saying that it’s all too much. “What’s wrong with the old standbys?” they ask. In most cases, nothing…classic is classic, yesterday, today and tomorrow. But sometimes those timeless choices run into trouble. An insect is introduced that attacks and kills…think Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. Sometimes a disease becomes problematic…in my area downy mildew of Impatiens has reduced this old standby to bare stems for two years now. In both of these examples new plants that thrive despite insects and disease are extremely welcome.

Sometimes, new plants are appealing because they bring something new to the party. ‘Summer Snowflake,’ for example.

The Summer Snowflake Viburnum, on the left, is still filled with white flowers that echo the white in the dappled willow tree and the Pinky Winky Hydrangeas on the right.


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