Saturday, April 30, 2011

Scented viburnum

Walking down Henry Street two days ago I sniffed the air. It smelled wonderful. I stopped, turned sniffed. Aross the street in the park where magnolias bloomed loudly up till a few days ago, I saw the distinctive pompoms of a viburnum. Four viburnums, actually, at least nine feet tall and wide. I have never seen them before, and it is obvious they weren't planted overnight. They have been there, blooming, year in, year out.

So this is one of my new finds of 2011. In addition to Norway maples, of course (thank you Janet), and all other trees that bloom greenly.

I think they are Viburnum carlesii.

I am tempted. Sorely tempted. A heist in the night. An armful of blooms. A roomful of scent. I noticed a woman doing just that yesterday, and I couldn't blame her, secretly snapping a stem. No one ever goes into that little park. Perhaps, if I am lucky, I will dream viburnum dreams.  Nights have been troubled. Rest has been elusive. Thoughts are on the march. At night they build bonfires by the road and hold war councils and show themselves in the firelight. Sometimes it is best to look away.

Then it is morning, and spring, and coffee, and blue sky, and the thoughts act like nothing happened and marshal themselves and make plans. Perhaps tonight they can agree on stealing viburnum. Tomorrow they'll pretend it wasn't them.


  1. oh marie

    thank you for reminding me in the past couple of days of viburnum carlesii (oh, that smell) and the mertensia in silas' beautiful garden (i looked at those photos and enlarged them over and over} - they were in my old garden - when i moved here i made a huge list of all plants to try here, but those didn't make it - why? - spring has finally come to no. nj - in just a few days an amazing difference


  2. Bought a viburnum 10 years ago to get that wonderful fragrance, but didn't get a variety that smells! What a dunce I am. I'm enjoying it vicariously! thanks.

  3. Biking through Prospect Park a little earlier this evening, I caught a whiff of some very sweet-smelling viburnums. I wonder if they are the same? Amazing smell. Lovely picture.

  4. Hi Pat - perhaps you have some plant shopping in your future? :-)

    webb - which do you have? I must say I love many viburnums. I even saw a leatherleaf the other day that looked attractive, and it's low on my list of likes.

    Sweetgum T - I wonder...could also be burkwoodii, which smells very good.

  5. Our Judd viburnum is blooming this week too, along with our carlesii, burkwoodii, Alleghenys and Pragues. The scent of the Judd viburnum rivals the Korean Spice.


Comments on posts older than 48 hours are moderated (for spam control) . Yours will be seen! Unless you are a troll. Serial trollers are banned.