With the new potter on the side of the house, I did something a bit different. Just a little. Instead of a perennial, I got a deciduous shrub, hoping it’ll weather the winter better and be less maintenance. Though I preferred there be greenery on the side of the house all year long, I will take a bunch of sticks sticking out the ground for a few months if it means it’ll survive.
So, I got a Doublefile Vibrburnum (Shasta).
Plant taxonomy considers Mariesii doublefile viburnum to be Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Mariesii.’ As always, the word in single quotes is the cultivar name.
Doublefile viburnum is a deciduous shrub. The bush belongs to the rather exclusive Adoxaceae family (which only four other genera call home). Viburnum is the most widely planted genus in the group in North America; elderberry (Sambucus) is also well known to gardeners, but more as a wild plant.
Mariesii has white flowers that assume the “lacecap” appearance with which we are most familiar when discussing certain types of hydrangeas (with sterile-but-attractive blossoms ringing a center of fertile-but-insignificant flowers). The shrub blooms during the month of May in a zone-5 landscape, for example, as does its relative, the “snowball bush.” Flowers are succeeded by berries (see below under Outstanding Features).
It’s a fast-growing shrub. At maturity, this multi-stemmed shrub can attain a height of 10-12 feet with a somewhat greater spread. The leaves on the branches line up precisely opposite from each other to form a neat pattern of pairs. The spring flowers on each branch, likewise, compose two even rows, one on either side of the branch. As a result, an impression of flatness or horizontality is created.
The deep, well-defined veining on the leaves gives them some character even during the spring and summer. But as with Korean spice viburnum, in fall the foliage can truly come into its own if conditions are right (this will not happen every year), changing to a reddish or purplish color.