I am learning that mountain gardens tend to be a rather disorganised, ‘bit-of-this, bit-of-that’ affair that have evolved over many years by many hands.
This mostly adds to their charm, but more often than not, the ‘bit-of-this, bit-of-that’ is made up of too many plants stuffed in close quarters, identical to the next door neighbours, and a good part of my job is spent rehabilitating and making sense of these sorts of gardens.
Today I was called to redesign one such garden and happened to stumble upon a Viburnum tinus ‘Variegatum’.
Variegated Viburnum is far more common in the UK than it is here.
In fact, the regular evergreen Viburnum is considered a bit of weed in the mountains, but the variegated version has the added bonus of being sterile, so limited weed potential.
It has delicate pink blossoms in late winter/early spring, when not much else is in flower. By the time the rest of the spring garden has exploded in colour, this shrub has quietly resumed its place in the background.
It is hardy to USDA zone 7b and like its regular cousin, can be clipped to form a dense semi-formal hedge.
You can see it here with Rhododendrons, azalea, Rose of Sharon Hibiscus and Weigelia.
I am glad the owners have decided to keep it, as all of the plants in the back yard (and many in the front) were butchered by the pruning efforts of the previous owners to my clients and therefore have to be ripped out.
Here is a better photo of this species (my camera phone and a cloudy day do no justice)
Like all variegated plants, give this one full sun for best results.