Woo Hoo! Summer is here and there’s so much looking good in the garden this week. The biennials I’ve grown from seed are flowering their socks off and early flowering perennials are making their debut too. However the stars in my garden this week are a couple of shrubs. Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ and Lilacs of course. In our garden they are both at their peak right now.
Viburnum opulus grows wild in the hedgerows and produces clusters of luscious red berries in autumn. The Snowball Bush Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ is a cultivated form which produces the same maple-like leaves and gorgeous flowers but no fruit. In May the flowers are small, round limey-green balls which gradually over a few weeks become larger and turn creamy green then white. By June the branches are bending under the weight of large white blossomy snowballs. It’s a fast growing, tall and wide shrub. When mature they reach 4 metres (13 feet) in height and spread.
This morning I’ve been photographing the flowers. It was not easy as many of them are well above eye level now! I must remember to prune them when flowering is over. It’s easy to do… just remove one in five of the oldest/weakest branches right to the base. A good mulch of manure and garden compost will feed the plant and encourage it to send out new shoots for next year.
Here are the Snowballs with our lovely purple Lilac Syringa vulgaris. Look closely and you’ll see a Snowball bush in the background.
The brilliant thing about both of these shrubs is that anyone can make stunning floral arrangements simply by placing a few stems in a vase. The only tricky bit is remembering that shrubs have woody stems and need a little more care than most blooms to keep them going. The Lilac on it’s own in a vase is quite lovely I think and allowed me to appreciate the gorgeous heart shaped leaves (until they wilted!)
How to cut and condition Lilac and Viburnum.
1) Cut woody shrubs early in the morning when it’s cool and the plant is fully hydrated.
2) Use sharp pruning scissors or secateurs and cut the stems just above a joint. Cut the stems at an angle so they won’t sit flat on the bottom of a vase which prevents them drinking.
3) Remove all leaves then place flowers immediately in a bucket of deep water. Cut some fresh new stems with just leaves
4) Cut a 4cm/2 inch slit up each stem to allow maximum contact with water or sear stem ends for 45 seconds.
5) Change water regularly (every day if possible) and re-cut stems under water or sear stems if necessary.
What’s looking good in your garden or neighborhood this week? You are most welcome join in with Looking Good… just leave a link to this post in your post and leave a comment here with a link to your post. Happy Gardening Gillian 🙂