May 2013

You Can Grow That! May 2013: Fragrant viburnums

Viburnums, tulips, lilacs and other plants perfume the spring air. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

A good spring overloads the senses. Not only does the earth break out in eye-pleasing blooms, many of the flowers release delicious fragrance.

Until just a few days ago, the office, kitchen, bedroom, backyard and enclosed back porch have been perfumed by viburnums, incredibly easy-to-grow shrubs.

In a partly sunny location in the back of the yard are two Burkwood viburnums (Viburnum burkwoodii), an upright shrub that can reach 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide when grown in full sun. Mine are closer to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

In their shadier location, the burkwoods have a more open growth. In full sun, the growth is much more dense. Although my burkwoods have fewer flowers in the shade than they would have in full sun, they still are loaded. This viburnum is semi-evergreen, retaining its foliage through winter, depending on the severity of the weather.

Outside the bedroom window and bordering the enclosed porch sits a Judd viburnum (V. x judii). This is a rounded, 6-foot tall and wide fragrant beauty with blue-green leaves that turn a deep red in fall and cling to the plant for several weeks of late season color. It prefers full sun, but tolerates light shade.

Like all spring bloomers, the viburnums’ flowers and fragrance can be rushed through their season with high temperatures in spring.

We all know about borrowed landscape views—the scenes created by a neighbor’s plants. Some of us also enjoy borrowed scents. A neighbor’s old fashion lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) have burst open, adding fragrant breezes to my living room.

Any day now my two ‘Miss Kim’ Manchurian lilacs (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula) will begin blooming outside the living room and the bedroom windows. These bloom a few weeks later than the old fashion lilacs. ‘Miss Kim’ also is not affected by the powdery mildew fungus disease that afflicts many traditional lilacs. It has decent fall color, too, with deep purple leaves.

And just a few days ago, the crabapples (Malus) were in full bloom at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The blooming branches created a large arch, which held the fragrance at nose level. I’d never noticed that crabapples were so fragrant.

These scents of the season reinforce the good sense of planting fragrant bulbs, perennials, annuals, trees or shrubs where you can enjoy their elusive attributes.

24th annual Orchard in Bloom celebrates 90th anniversary of The Orchard School

May 2, 2013
6:00 PMto8:30 PM
May 3, 2013
10:00 AMto6:00 PM
May 4, 2013
10:00 AMto6:00 PM
May 5, 2013
11:00 AMto4:00 PM

What: 24th annual Orchard in Bloom. In honor of the 90th anniversary of The Orchard School, the theme is Growing to Learn. Proceeds benefit the school and Indy Parks. The unique partnership between The Orchard School and Indy Parks has raised more than $1 million in the last decade to support outdoor education at Orchard and Indy Parks. Holliday Park, specifically, has received $200,000 for new and innovative outdoor educational programs for all of Central Indiana which have touched the lives of hundreds of area children in public and private schools, as well as their families and senior citizens. The Orchard School’s Outdoor Education Coordinator Diana Shellhaas is the 2013 Honorary Chairperson. The truly amazing thing about this event is the work and spirit of the volunteers, including parents and community members. It’s a massive undertaking and one done extremely well.

Landscape designer Gus Lemcke incorporated Orchard in Bloom's 2012 edible theme into his tabletop arrangement. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 5, 2013. Preview Party, 6 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, May 2, 2013.

Where: Holliday Park, 64th Street and Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis. No parking allowed in park or vicinity. Free parking and shuttle service at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian St.

Admission: $10 in advance, available at Marsh Supermarkets, The National Bank of Indianapolis branches, The Orchard School and the Holliday Park Nature Center. Tickets are $12 at the gate the days of the show. A three-day ticket is $15. Children 14 and under are free.

Speakers: Garden and Natural Living Symposium, includes Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, the Hoosier Gardener, who will speak about edible landscapes (times to be announced). Other seminars and demonstrations by landscapers, green-living experts, garden specialists and more.

Other info:

‡The Garden Pavilion showcases innovative gardens, featuring edible landscapes, created by renowned local landscape designers. Their theme this year for landscapers is “Growing to Learn” in honor of The Orchard School’s 90th anniversary.

Microgardens feature landscape ideas for smaller spaces.

Garden and Natural Living Symposium speakers and events will occur throughout the weekend and will feature landscape specialists, green-living experts, and garden specialists.

The annual Containers In Bloom competition is back and puts garden club experts, individuals and students to task in a container gardening competition.

The Exhibition Tents delight shoppers with more than 100 local and regional vendors, selling handcrafted tools, garden furniture, herbs, blooming plants and flowers, artwork and more. Look for featured vendors offering products made from repurposed or recycled goods.

The Children’s Area offers outdoor fun to entertain and enlighten the younger set. Kids can grow their own salad, plant a pizza garden, or simply play in the kids’ tent.

The Garden Café offers tasty meals and snacks and will feature natural and organic products.

The Planting of the Orchard Arboretum, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 26, Arbor Day, The Orchard School.

Chef Showdown, May 2, during the Orchard In Bloom Preview Party

Run for the Bloom, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. May 5, The Orchard School.

Featured artist: Douglas David, owner of Douglas David Cottage.

Sponsors: The Bank of Indianapolis, Indy Parks and The Orchard School.