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Most Fragrant of Them All

This article was first published on 14 Oct 2015.

Viburnum xburkwoodii

Viburnum xburkwoodii

Every time I walk past Viburnum ×burkwoodii at the moment I just want to take an extra moment to take in the amazing aroma of the fragrant flowers.

Viburnums are a great shrub, with over 150 species and cultivars; there is one suitable for most gardens. They can be deciduous or evergreen and usually have white or pink, often-scented flowers followed by fruits that ripen to either black, blue or red berries.

Viburnum ×burkwoodii has to be one the most fragrant of all the viburnums. The white, pompom-like flowers appear usually appear in early spring and last for a number of weeks, followed by red fruits.

A cross between V. utile and V. carlesii, Viburnum ×burkwoodii forms a shrub up to about 3 metres in height. It is easily grown in moist soils, providing there is good drainage, but prefers a moist, loamy soil with plenty of organic matter and once established can withstand some drought conditions. Either full sun or part shade is fine.

Because of its highly fragrant scent, choosing a position in the garden where the scent can be most admired is important. Plant it next to a garden path or an outdoor living area, if you have the space. Even at the back of a narrow border you will still be rewarded.

Plants can be seen in the lower Botanic Garden between the Clive Lister Garden and Otaru Garden and in the Scented Theme borders

Stephen Bishop is curator of the Clive Lister Garden at Dunedin Botanic Garden.