5 Ways With : Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’

I am excited to share this new little feature with you.  It will generally be a Tuesday thing as I want to turn the day over to all things plants.  It’s a simple thing really,  Pick a plant – which will always be something that I love, you love or someone has suggested, and share five ways to design it into your garden.

viburnum bodnntense

image from guardian.co.uk
In what is now truly the dead of winter I am craving the garden more than ever.  It has me thinking that if I had some Viburnum x bodnantense (var. ‘Dawn’, ‘Charles Lamont’, of maybe even ‘Deben’) in my garden, it might actually be blooming now (or very soon). This stalwart of the winter garden has the most amazing scent.  One of my favorite blog posts ever is about the scent of Viburnum ‘dawn’ over at Gardeners Eden.  I agree with Michaela, there is no words to describe this perfect pink scent and even looking at the images on the computer makes me wish my laptop had a scratch and sniff screen feature.

viburnum bodnantense dawn.

image from the highline.

Are you intrigued?  Perhaps you want to think about planting it in your landscape?  Here are 5 ways to design it in to your garden.

1) Create an informal hedge. Viburnum x bodnantense is generally a vase shaped shrub, narrow at the bottom and opening up.  If you plant them roughly 3 feet apart, you create a reasonably full green hedge in the summer and a beautiful blossom filled twig hedge in the late winter and early spring.  Consider putting the hedge in front of something evergreen so that the white and pink flowers have added sparkle.

2) Use it to soften strong horizontal lines. This shrub has a strong vertical line presence, so using it to contrast something else that is a strong horizontal presence (like the siding of a house or a barn or perhaps even a strong horizon line) can provide balance and design interest.

viburnum bodnantense

image from over the garden gate.

3) Create an Asian inspired garden (particularly in areas where snow cover is less dominant).  Under plant it with mosses and other vibrant green ground covers.  These types of plants will serve the same purpose as an evergreen back drop but will also provide a sea of green so that as the soft pink and white blooms fall, they can be equally appreciated after they have passed.

4) Plant Viburnum in a cutting garden. The stems are beautiful harbingers of spring and when brought in and used in floral displays, they can be the heart of beautiful sculptural arrangements.

viburnum stems

image from binbin.

5) Plant Pairings: Try pairing with Epimedium x perralchicum, Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae, Dryopteris felix-mas, Polygonatum odoratum, Astrantia major alba and/or Rosa rugosa var. alba.

plant partners for viburnum
1. Mrs. Robb’s Bonnet, 2. Rose Rugos ‘Alba’, 3. Masterwort (NL: Zeeuwsknoopje) (Astrantia major alba), 4. SEAL, 5. fern, dryopteris felix mas, 6. Epimedium x perralchicum

Do you grow this shrub?  How have you used it? Share and maybe others can learn from your genius ideas.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. lo on April 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    What a useful little entry-Will be sure to be back!

  2. Private on April 12, 2011 at 9:27 am

    (I’m home feeling too moody/PMS for work, so please excuse me if I rant)

    Instead of 5 ways to use this plant, I would much rather read a battle of champion plants. Especially for a plant this size, it’s more common, IMHO, to have a spot and think, well now, should I go Dawn Viburnum or a Winter Hazel? I can get some information on each online, but it’s harder to find comparisons. Which one will give more privacy in a lot line year round? Which one is more shade tolerant? Even as a web article, post an empty spot, and two or three choices to fill it, and let people comment.

  3. rochelle on April 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    private – I love the idea of battle of the plants….no worries about being PMS-y— I happen to be in a state of little inspiration, so a comment such as this actually is quite helpful towards generating new post ideas. thx. -R

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