I had long lusted after Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ (lusted might be too strong a word). I had seen them in parks and open gardens but as VPM is a large shrub – and I only had a little garden – I bided my time. Then, within months of starting work at The Priory, and with all that space to play in, I finally seized my chance.
I bought a small, twelve inch plant in 2009 and dug a hole in the lawn. I can’t find a photo of ‘my’ viburnum prior to the above in May 2012 but in those three years, it tripled in size.
A year later and it was noticeably larger and gaining height as well as width.
By last year (its fifth),
it was clearly visible from a distance.
And now in May 2015 it is looking rather stately and making quite an impact.
It is a beautiful shrub, with tiered, layered branches that suggest its common name – the wedding cake bush. After it has finished flowering, I will carefully prune a few branches to enhance the shape. I’ll also cut a bigger planting square – the mower sometimes snaps off lower branches.
It might eventually reach three metres in height and four wide but not for another ten years or so. I’ve enjoyed its slow-ish growth, development and increasing presence in the garden. Take your time, Mariesii – I’m in no hurry.
A year after I wrote the above,
this is how my V. plicatum ‘Mariesii’ looks in May 2016, its seventh year.
If I remember, I’ll post a photo next year too.
And in 2017? Well, I did remember though it is hardly worthwhile.
A very hard frost in the last days of April killed flowers and buds all over the garden.
The Mariesii was badly scorched and is not its usual pretty self. I’ll just hope that 2018 will see it return with a bang rather than a burnt whimper.
And so now to May 2018. There were no late frosts this year and, unlike last year, no damage to the flowers.
But a relatively harsh winter – for Sussex – killed off some branches and deer have nibbled others. The outward spread of my V. plicatum ‘Mariesii’ is less than I had hoped for.
But then us gardeners don’t always get what we wish for.
I left The Priory in August 2018 to move across country to Gloucestershire (see this post, At Last, The Priory). I’m afraid that there will be no more annual updates on ‘my’ Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’.