Wednesday 26 July 2017

In bloom this week: Vibrant viburnum

Create a sense of calm in your garden with a Japanese-inspired planting scheme and this pretty white flower

Viburnum Japanese Snowball
Viburnum Japanese Snowball

Leonie Cornelius

The splendour of the gardens at Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow - recently voted No 3 in the Top 10 Gardens of the World by National Geographic - is guaranteed to inspire even the most inexperienced of gardeners.

One way to bring a piece of Powerscourt into your own home is by looking to the individual plants that they've used to see what would work well in a smaller space.

One of my favourite parts of the estate is the Japanese gardens, which slope into a small rock-filled valley with a Japanese gazebo at the bottom. This space is lovely to walk through, with the scent of cool mosses at the water feature to the rustling of the breeze in the Acer leaves appealing to all the senses.

Here azaleas and rhododendrons flower impressively, flanked by subtle Japanese maples and pines. One of the most subtle and elegant plants is the viburnum. These gardens have various types of the lovely deciduous flowering shrub. There are arrowwood (Viburnum Carlesii), as well as the Japanese snowball (Viburnum plicatum Mariesii, pictured).

This bushy shrub is a lovely understated addition to any small garden space, particularly areas that benefit from a well-structured design. Planted in a pot or border, it has wide-spreading tiered branches and deeply veined, deep green leaves. I love the delicate balls of flowers in late spring to summer, which are almost lace-like in structure.

Viburnums like full sun or semi-shade and do well in moist but well-drained soils. An interesting visual bonus is that the leaves turn purple in autumn and so would be lovely planted with some Japanese maples whose leaves also take on golden orange hues at that time of year. This type of elegant Japanese planting is great for creating a relaxed space in your garden - after leaving Powerscourt I felt truly chilled out.

The 'Powerscourt in Bloom' package includes an overnight stay for two with breakfast, dinner and access to Powerscourt House & Gardens. From €153pp sharing midweek, powerscourthotel.com

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