The most satisfying garden is a sensual experience, pulling you in with enticing melodies and wrapping you in voluptuous layers of texture and color and powerful, though often subtle aromas. You breathe it in and it seeps into your consciousness, where it lies like opium, drawing you back again and again.
Viburnum x burkwoodii belongs in a garden like that. There are over 150 species of Viburnum, and I grow a few of them. One of my favorites is Burkwood viburnum, a wonderful plant for the shrub border or as a specimen. Though it looks a little gangly in its youth, it will mature to a dense shrub up to 8 to 10 feet with either a rounded or upright habit. The leaves are lustrous green with downy undersides. Usually deciduous, it may be evergreen in the mildest regions. Mohawk and Chenaultii are cultivars that have impressive fall color.
Birds and butterflies love this shrub. Red to pink flower buds appear in 3 inch snowball shaped clusters in spring, opening to creamy white flowers with a marvelous sweet, spicy scent. Its green berries turn red, then black as summer arrives.
Burkwood viburnum will grow in hardiness zones 4-8, in full to part sun. It likes moist, well drained, slightly acid soil, but it can tolerate less than ideal conditions. An easy care shrub, it is heat and drought tolerant. It needs little if any fertilizing.
Burkwood viburnum is an ornamental shrub with multiseasonal interest, and my scented garden would not be complete without it.