Viburnum propinquum

Where a dapper, durable evergreen shrub is required look no further than this handsome Viburnum species. Upright growing to 5′ x 5′ in 8 years it bears glossy deep green foliage held on cinnamon red stems and petioles. In spring intricate and tiny green flowers occupy a structure much like a tinker toy. Moderately fast growing shrub for part shade to full sun. Much, much more graceful than the used and abused Viburnum davidii. Very good cold hardiness- to 0ºF. Long lived and always good looking. Regular summer water or very little once established.

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 |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
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Viburnum tinus ‘Variegatum’

Spring bouquet viburnum or Laurusitinus is a common shrub in our climate. This form lightens up what can be a very pedestrian plant. The edges of the evergreen leaves are margined in cream with an interior of soft green. This makes a shrub that glows year round and can be used to lighten up dark corners. In autumn clusters of pink buds form and hold until mid winter. Then as the days begin to lengthen it opens these clusters which are lightly fragrant and white. Strong growing shrub that requires  very little water once established. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Full sun to part shade to high overhead shade. Nice looking, tough shrub native to the Mediterranean very easy to grow and long lived. If a green sport appears simply prune it off to the base to retain the variegated form. Water to establish. Not deer resistant. Excellent backdrop to a mixed border or trimmed into a contained hedge. Nice fast growing screen. Blue berries sometimes follow the flowers.  Buds and flowers put on a show for months. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune after flowering if needed. Naturally dense and rounded.

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Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’

We think this is the best form of this winter blooming shrub/tree. Large clusters of pink flowers change to white upon opening. Flowers begin in December and continue to open until March. A very long season of bloom at an important time of the year. The tubular flowers are sweetly fragrant. Tall growing vase shaped shrub to 12′ tall and half as wide. Fall color is soft peach and red and showy for quite a while. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil with regular summer water. Great scaffold for summer blooming Clematis. Make this the star of your winter garden. Cut flowers last for a long time in a vase.

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Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’

Really there is nothing like the clove/carnation/sweet fragrance of this shrub in late winter to early spring. The large clusters of flowers begin as pink buds and open to white. Nice bicolor effect along the way. Blooms 3-4 weeks. Evergreen to semi-evergreen to deciduous in arctic places. Large growing shrub that can attain tree like proportions with great age. To 8′ x 4′ in 7 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained sites. Light consistent summer water speeds growth and increases spring flowering. Otherwise relatively drought adapted, especially in shade. Tolerate the most obnoxious sticky clay soils- especially on slopes. Plant where you can pass by the flowers and take a big ol whiff. Very easy to grow. Prune AFTER flowering.

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Vitex agnus-castus ‘Sensational’

Excellent California selection of Chaste tree with thicker, bluer flowers. Large growing shrub with aromatic finely divided leaves in mid-July in PDX spires of blue flowers erupt from each branch tip. It remains in bloom for 3-4 weeks. And if you remove spent flowers more will appear. Full sun and poor to average well drained soil. No summer water when established. Attains tree-like status with great age. May be pruned back hard in spring to contain the ultimate size. Blooms on new wood. Long lived and hardy below 0ºF. Leaves appear late in spring- often not until mid-May. Be patient. Loved by pollinators and bumble bees specifically. A shrub in full bloom will be a haze of drunken bumbles who after a day of working will often fall asleep in the flowers of this shrub. Tolerates the hottest sites and is very long lived.

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Yucca rostrata

Beaked Yucca does fantastically well in our climate and is one of the Yucca species that will form a dramatic trunk. Blue thin leaves radiate out in a perfectly round orb. Slowly rises to 8′ tall in our climate. Full hot all day sun in a warm position. Very well drained soil with light summer water during the hottest stretches to encourage growth. Occasionally, with age 4′ spikes appear holding large trusses of ivory flowers. Perfectly hardy to cold, way below 0ºF. Avoid cold wet sites- to really do well it needs heat and exposure. Not prone to bacterial leaf blight that affects other Yucca species. Good air circulation. Lives happily in large containers for eons. Focal point in many of the best gardens in our region. High deer resistance. Evergreen.

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