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Keeping a viburnum x burkwoodii narrow?

puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 143
I have a small garden - about 5m x 7m of lawn & beds, plus a very small patio area - but I love trees and large shrubs. This is problematic :joy:

I've got a particular love for viburnums, and after reading this forum I now very, very much want a viburnum x burkwoodii. I know that, given what I've planted already, I don't have space for something that's 2m wide. Would it be complete madness to plant one anyway and prune it to stay ~1m wide? I'm working on improving the soil, but it's not great and also my garden is shady so perhaps it wouldn't grow to max size anyway?

Is this idea ridiculous/doomed to failure?



  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 143
    Just to add - I'd have space for it to spread out far more if, once mature, I crown-lifted/tree-formed it. But for now that kind of pruning is too advanced for me!
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,219
    There's a problem here that you have identified yourself: you love this shrub but you will need to make it look like something else to fit it into the space. It will never look really good if it cannot take on its natural form. That's really disappointing, I know, but I honestly think you would be better to choose something that does fit and enjoy viburnums when you see them elsewhere.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,179
    Have you looked at other Viburnhams ? I grow V. Bodnantense Charles Lamont AGM. If you look at the recent Hellebore thread you will see this plant in my garden, as you can see it takes up very little space at ground level .It has been pruned at the base after flowering, allowing for other plants to grow at it's base. It has flowered since Nov and at present looks beautiful it is 8ft tall.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,292
    I agree with @Posy. There's just no point constantly compromising a plant of any kind, when it's easier to find something more suitable, and let it grow the way it should.  :)

    They do get quite big [V. burkwoodii]  but they take a while to reach a large size, or mine did anyway. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 143
    Thanks @Posy and @Fairygirl - that's what I feared. Brighton needs bigger gardens! Maybe one day :)

    @GardenerSuze - I'd looked at the Bodnantense but wrote it off for some reason, maybe because I only looked at Dawn which seems to want more sun? Not sure, but it was a mistake - your Charles Lamont is so beautiful and looks perfect for the spot! Ideal habit for where I'd put it, nice light canopy in late autumn/winter so the hellebores can get their sunshine, lovely foliage when they're asleep. Thank you so much! Is there much difference between Charles Lamont & Deben, e.g. in size/fragrance/habit? 
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,179
    My plant is in a south facing border however it now has some shade from the west as I have a large tree there are hundreds of flowers but they are high up on the plant. The flowers have a lovely sent on a sunny winters day. Haven't heard of Deben but purchased  Charles Lamont 10 years ago because it has an AGM.  
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,179
    Crown lifting is an excellent way to create space at ground level and not as difficult as you think.  Just have to stand back and check as you go that your pruning is even. 
  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 143
    Googling around I'm not finding anywhere that sells Deben online - maybe it's not very popular.

    If I went for the V. bod it'd be on a west-facing border, open to the sky but in the shadow of the fences & house. It'd get about ~4hrs of sun in summer, but in winter it wouldn't get any until it grows taller than the fence.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,179
    I would have thought west would be good however 4hours of light doesn't seem a lot. I am sure other forum members grow this perhaps they can give more help on aspect .  Deben is a white form it would seem, where as C Lamont is soft pink .
  • WalkingWalking Posts: 14
    Just up the road from me is a V bod (pink) that has been kept narrow. Looks good

    Regular pruning I think is the answer.

    I would remove about 1/4 to 1/3rd of the oldest stems each year from the base.

    Spring time, after flowering but give it time to establish it's self. 

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