Spring-flowering shrubs complement viburnums, and clematis vines trained through their branches adorn them when blooms fade.
With so many shapes and sizes available, designing with viburnums is downright easy. They can be used as specimen plants, natural or sheared hedges, massed in groups or potted in containers.
With their striking horizontal branching habit, the doublefile viburnum types, including 'Mariesii', 'Newport', 'Pink Beauty', 'Shasta' and 'Shoshoni', deserve special consideration as attention-grabbing focal points.
Winter- and early-spring-flowering viburnums, such as V. farreri (which is also fragrant) and V. x bodnantense 'Dawn', seem to defy the winter weather to show off their blooms. These attractive blossoms can add interest when little else is in flower. Early-blooming V. lantanoides, V. 'Cayuga', V. x burkwoodii 'Anne Russell' and V. lantana are especially showy. Viburnums are also valuable landscape plants for their fragrance. V. x burkwoodii 'Mohawk', V. x carlcephalum 'Cayuga' and V. carlesii 'Aurora' have exceptionally lovely scents.
Lastly, don't overlook designing with viburnums for their showy yellow, red, purple, blue or black fruit. Displays can be particularly beautiful during the fall and winter.
DR. RUPPEL' CLEMATIS (Clematis 'Dr. Ruppel')
HEIGHT 2 to 3 m
SPREAD 1 m
DESCRIPTION vine with large, deep pink blooms with a carmine stripe on each petal; blooms in early summer, then sporadically through early fall
DESIGN ADVANTAGE showy blooms help to extend the flowering season; complements the spreading, open forms of many viburnums; combines especially well with varieties less than 2 m
'ARNOLD PROMISE' WITCH HAZEL (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise') HEIGHT and SPREAD 3 to 5 m
DESCRIPTION deciduous shrub with vividly coloured, fragrant, bright yellow blossoms that appear in late winter or early spring
DESIGN ADVANTAGE upright, vase-shaped form echoes those of many viburnums; complements early-blooming varieties, such as V. x bodnantense ‘Dawn'
'ALICE' OAKLEAF HYDRANGEA (HYDRANGEA QUERCIFOLIA 'ALICE')
HEIGHT and SPREAD 1.5 to 2.5 m
DESCRIPTION deciduous shrub with large, long-lasting white panicles that bloom in early summer, then fade to pink, then brown; deeply lobed, oak-like leaves turn bronze, maroon and purple in fall
DESIGN ADVANTAGE large shrub that combines well with viburnums for an informal look
'VALLEY VALENTINE' JAPANESE PIERIS (Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine')
HEIGHT 60 cm to 1.3 m
SPREAD 1 to 1.5 m
DESCRIPTION broadleaf shrub with maroon flowers in early spring that fade to pink; dark, glossy, evergreen leaves emerge orange-bronze and mature to dark green
DESIGN ADVANTAGE foliage provides excellent contrast for small to medium-sized deciduous viburnums