Viburnum 'Dawn': providing colour, fragrance and texture whilst the rest of the garden sleeps
As a professional garden designer, I am always looking to provide year-round colour and interest with the planting schemes I design, and so I always try to include a few star plants which offer us a real sense of promise during these first few weeks of the year. Reliably giving it’s best whilst much of the rest of the garden sleeps, Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is a large deciduous shrub that I firmly believe deserves a prominent role in any garden. Indeed, it was one of the first plants I added when I re-designed our own new garden at our home in south Lincolnshire.
Content in almost any position (try to avoid full shade or very heavy soils), V. ‘Dawn’ has dark green ribbed leaves, and gloriously textured and slightly ‘architectural’ stems. If truth be told it is a fairly anonymous shrub in the warmer months, and is seemingly happy to let other more showy plants take all of the colourful glory. But, come late autumn it bursts into life as tight red bubs borne on bare stems release clusters of lightly scented soft pink and white flowers. Simply beautiful.
V. ‘Dawn’ is a plant that provides a truly wonderful floral display over a prolonged period, often still flowering up to the point at which tree blossom begins to emerge and catch our attention. It’s tiny flowers look dainty and delicate, but proudly withstand the harshest of weather conditions during a typical British winter.
Another real bonus is the fact that V. ‘Dawn’ is largely maintenance-free. It is, however, quite vigorous, so I would usually suggest pruning out as much of a third of its stems on an annual basis. Simply cut them with loppers or secateurs as low down to the ground as possible and as soon as the risk of frost has passed. Pruning in this way not only helps to maintain the plant to the desired size but also has a rejuvenating effect, encouraging new fresh young shoots and fresh energy.
Although, absolutely ideal for the rear of a mixed ornamental planting scheme, V. ‘Dawn’ can also do a sterling job covering an unsightly wall or fence. I tend to avoid using it as a 'stand alone' or focal point plant because it doesn't have enough about it in the summer, but utilised as part of a mixed planting scheme (as a single or in groups of three or five) it provides wonderful value.
Viburnum 'Dawn' is a true star of the winter garden, and it never fails to make me smile at this time of year. Quite simply, I can’t imagine designing a planting plan without it. If you haven’t already got this plant in your garden you then I really would urge you to consider adding it- I’m sure you will not be disappointed.
Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.