Saturday, September 18, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 75: Versatile Viburnums

In this episode, we talk with Phil Normandy, the recently retired plant collections manager of Brookside Gardens, all about Viburnums. The plant profile is on Obedient Plant and I share what's going on locally and in my garden.

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EPISODE LENGTH: 56:14 00:41 Meet Phil, the “horticultural rock star” 01:49 Four-year-old Phil holding a plant for a family picture was the “early warning sign” that he was born for gardening 03:06 As a kid, Phil was most passionate about trees 03:49 Phil talks about his education at NC State and how it led him to his current career path 04:53 “I was very fortunate to get into that program” — Phil, on attending the Longwood Program at University of Delaware 07:13 How COVID helped him refocus on what he enjoyed, horticulture, and helped the transition to retirement 08:59 Phil describes the 35-acre Brookside Gardens for those who’ve never been there 10:43 “Brookside feels like home” — Kathy 11:02 Phil explains how Brookside introduced people to certain plants, like the climbing hydrangea (Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight') and the variegated osmanthus 'Goshiki' 14:00 Phil’s personal affection for variegated plants shows in his home garden 16:51 Viburnum discussion starts here! 17:00 “These are large growing shrubs, and they do eat up a lot of real estate” — Phil, on determining if you have the right space for viburnums 19:14, 22:38 When you go to your local garden center, what types of viburnum varieties are you likely to see? 20:08 The “floral weirdness” of the similarities between viburnum and hydrangea flowers — two completely unrelated plants 21:58 The amount of sun viburnums need depends on how you get your shade 22:49 The Korean Spice Viburnum flowers are “intensely fragrant” 24:03 Native vs nonnative viburnums 25:18 Are viburnums deer-proof? Well, it depends. 26:16 The Mapleleaf viburnum “makes a lovely, handsome shrub” — Phil 27:28 Try to steer away from the linden viburnum and the doublefile viburnum 30:24 If you’re looking for a native viburnum, you could try the viburnum nudum 31:37 Be aware when considering viburnums: some species are “self-incompatible” 33:12 Phil lists other native options he likes, like the arrowwood and tree form viburnums 33:56 “That’s a heck of a muffin, there” — Phil, on the eight-feet-tall blue muffin cultivar 35:59 Did you know a plant name with “haw” in it means it’s an edible fruit? 36:34 Phil gives advice on pruning viburnums 43:23 “The Chinese snowball is a beast” — Phil talks about the different kinds of snowball viburnums 44:06 Word of caution from Phil: the European and American cranberry (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) are prone to diseases 45:43 A potential “player in our area” due to warmer winters is the ‘Chindo’ viburnum 47:51 To wrap up, Phil gives tips on culture, like fertilization, for viburnums 49:02 “There’s so much information on the web. You don’t have to have a plant book” — Phil, on caring for and researching viburnums 49:57 If you’d like to follow up with Phil, contact us through our social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) or our website and we’ll pass the message along! 50:30 Learn about the obedient plant, whose blossoms look like snapdragons, in this week’s Plant Profile! 52:38 Garden updates: peppers and ‘Sun Gold’ tomatoes still going strong and turtle head flowers opening 53:17 Upcoming events: Greenspring Gardens Family Fall Festival, Fona Bulb Sale at National Arboretum, Northern Alexandria Native Plant Sale, and Harvesting History Bulb Sale Episode Credits: Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz Interview Edits: Charlotte Crook Show Notes: Melena DiNenna

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

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Viburnum carlesii photo source: 
Chrumps, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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