And then it bloomed

My plan was to cut down the large Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) on the right side of the gate.

Then I would move the much smaller Korean Spice Viburnum on the left side of the gate to another location in the garden.

After all, the larger viburnum has a big dead branch in it, and it's getting on in years.

Plus, I have two honeyberries, Lonicera caerulea, growing in one gallon pots on the front porch that I want to plant where these two viburnum are currently growing.

Honeyberries, which should get to 3' - 4', maybe 8' tall, produce edible blue berries which are supposed to be similar to blueberries.

When I read about honeyberries this winter, I immediately thought of planting them on each side of the gate since the gate is the official entrance to the vegetable garden.  I dreamed of them joining the raspberries and grapes that form a living fence separating the vegetable garden from the rest of the garden, and providing me with food. I could just imagine a visitor  seeing these shrubs loaded down with blue berries and asking "What's that? Then I would invite them to try one. "Mmm", they would say in my dream, "those are good."

I bought two varieties, 'Blue Moon' and 'Blue Velvet', because you need two varieties for pollination. 

But then, guess what?

That old Korean Spice Viburnum bloomed.

This is one of the best smelling blooms of spring, if you want my humble opinion. I like it better than witch hazel, better than lilac, better than peony, better than crabapple.

I tried not to lean in and smell it, I tried to show restraint, I tried to hold myself back. But I couldn't resist.

I leaned in slowly, sniffed a tiny bit, closed my eyes, then drew in a big breath of Viburnum carlesii and decided right then and there that I am going to cut out that dead branch, trim the whole shrub back a bit after it blooms, put a nice layer of mulch over its roots and make sure it gets some good organic fertilizer.  I'll do the same for its little buddy on the other side of the gate which has struggled through two droughty summers since it was planted. They'll be fine. I won't get edible berries from them, but I will get lovely sweet-flowers in the spring, food for the winter weary soul.

Those honeyberries?  Well, I think there is room elsewhere in the vegetable garden for them, in the corners. They are pollinated by bees so I hope the bees don't mind buzzing one and and then going 60 feet over to the other one so I get some berries. 

(Apologies for the pictures... I took them just before dusk...)


  1. My neighbor has one of these lovely shrubs. When it blooms I can open my office window and smell this heavenly scent. I don't blame you for not taking out the shrub even tho it is old. It deserves a place in your garden.

  2. That Viburnum was trying to tell you to give it another chance...that it has something wonderful to offer! Glad you decided to let it stay there.

  3. I love V carlesii and have one in the garden...It perfumes the back garden

  4. I understand completely, Carol.
    Except, lilac wins as best smell. Old fashioned, French, Syringa vulgaris. None of that new-fangled shit.

    Lovely blog.

  5. I know I have a large Ninebark that needs to move. I was hoping to get it done before it blooms, while not pleasantly fragrant they are pretty!

    Is there somewhere else in the yard you can move it?

  6. I have always wanted one of these Virburnums, but I have no place to plant one in my garden. :(

  7. I can just imagine why you changed your mind about moving it. We really do become attached to our plants don't we :-)

  8. Those fragrant viburnums are the lifesaver of Spring for me. Here's a plea for their continued survival near your gate.


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