Thursday, May 21, 2009

Showcasing two old fasioned bloomers



These two shrubs were in my parent's and my grandparent's gardens. Old fashioned, carefree and as dependable as great grandpa's pocket watch. Both are out of style now, replaced by newer hybrids with more color and longer bloom time. Still, I wouldn't be without these old faithful garden friends.

Bridal wreath spirea (Rosaceae spireae prunfolia) is lovely in bloom. The bush is fountain shaped with arching branches accented by thousands of clumps of tiny white flowers. I have a preference for gracefully arching branches so it is very appealing to me.



Other big advantages: In my garden this spirea has no pests and no disease. It is tolerant of poor rocky soil, extreme temperatures, light shade and drought.

Everybody just calls the second shrub "the snowball bush". Viburnum opulus has a short window of display time before it becomes another featureless upright shrub. For the brief period when it is covered in big balls of white it is a traffic stopper. I wish this viburnum produced colorful berries to give us another season of interest but alas it does not.



The snowball bush is another no problem bloomer that requires little maintenance and is forgiving of cold, heat and drought. I've heard people complain about aphids but on my farm the lady bug population far outnumbers the aphids.

Unfortunately this is not one of the wonderfully fragrant viburnums but you seldom get all the best options in one package.



Pruning about one third every other year works well for me and results in more blooms and better shape the following spring. I prune both shrubs in late spring soon after bloom.


~ ~ ~ ~

Wildlife Rumors by Miss B



Late breaking news has set this community on its ear. Red Headed Woodpecker was seen at the Maple Tree Restaurant eating a suet and sunflower dinner. Red has never visited us before but his reputation proceeds him. It seems this bad boy has a not-so-stellar-reputation. Claims from other communities describe him as a thug, vandalizing homes, breaking eggs, and worse.



Red told our reporter Miss B that these allegations were scurrilous lies and that he was simply a peace loving woodpecker doing good deeds by removing insects from the environment.

The morning after Miss B interviewed Red, he left the area and the bird population breathed a sigh of relief.

Crime is on the rise in the community since the arrival of the Raccoon family. Described as bandits, these renegades allegedly prowl the area at night holding up restaurants and eating everything in sight. It is even believed the Raccoons are responsible for Mr and Mrs Towhee leaving the area. So far police have not been able to catch them in the act.

Miss B will have more news as it breaks.


34 comments:

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

How very funny. As I was going to work today I saw a spirea and thought - "This really reminds me of my childhood" and now you are showing it! It's a sign I got to get a Rosaceae spireae prunfolia it is so pretty.

It is your 'time' now, all the Lilacs are in bloom here in Tyra's Garden :-)

Take Care / Tyra

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

THE GREENHOUSE IN TYRA'S GARDEN

Sherri said...

Growing up we had a snowball bush and a Bridal Wreath spirea in our yard. I love Spring! Miss B's reporting is getting better and better-LOL!! You should write a book with all the reportings by Miss B-I would buy it!!

JC said...

I wrote down the two yard whites .. I need something for my front yard. I'll see if my local nursery has one.

Miss B ... Love her reports !!!

crimsoncat05 said...

thank you for the wonderful memories evoked by your beautiful photos of the bridal wreath and the snowball bush!

TC said...

Those spireas are in bloom here as well. I'll have to post a recent photo I snapped of a fenceline made from them. It turned out pretty good. And I don't need to mention what happens to some viburnums (I believe mine was/is one of the 'Arrowhead' variety, one of the most susceptible to VLB.)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Tyra, you're right, one of my very favorite times. Ours are gone now, no more for an entire year.

Hi Sherri, me too. An old friend we looked forward to each spring.

Crimson, isn't it wonderful the memories that spring to mind when you see a certain bloom.

TC, so far the dreaded beetles have not come this far west. Eventually they will.

Marnie

sweet bay said...

The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a thug?? What are Miss B's sources? (oh, that's right, a journalist never reveals her sources)

Silvia said...

The first one I have it, but I am waiting to grow. It was a little plant. The second one is common also in other colours in Romania, such as pink or purple. I wish to have it, but maybe next year. Your parents & grandparents flowers are beautiful, large shrubs and I thank you for the pictures.

BeadedTail said...

My grandparents had a snowball bush and the memories of it just came rushing back so thanks for the trip down memory lane! And that Miss B is a fantastic investigative reporter! I was riveted by her story!

Kathleen said...

Interesting reporting Miss B. I didn't know about the red-headed woodpecker being a thug either. Of course, I haven't ever seen one in my yard so anything I know is heresay. I'd love to spot one ~ maybe after nesting season is over tho (just to be on the safe side!) You hit the nail on the head with these two shrubs Marnie as I remember them from childhood too. I don't have either in my garden now but I have fond memories of them and find them both very attractive. Too bad the the snowball viburnum doesn't produce berries. That's sort of a criteria for new shrubs I add anymore.

Roses and Lilacs said...

SweetBay, LOL, that's right. That's her story and she's stickin' to it.

Silvia, are you sure you don't have these confused with hydrangea? They come in pink, white and blue but bloom much later in the season.

BeadedTail, isn't it nice to have those old memories come rushing back? I'll tell Miss B she is being compared to Geraldo Rivera;) She may want to leave this one-horse-town and move to DC to have more scope for her talent.
Marnie

Marissa's Flower Patch said...

Beautiful pictures!! Thanks for sharing.

Sweet Repose said...

I used to have a spirea bush outside my window when I was a child, it was on a terrace and a favorite hiding place for me to play with my plastic horses...I was a cowgirl you know.

I loved your description of the iris looking like wet kleenex, that was perfect...will it ever dry out!!!?

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie,
Cute story...very clever.

Nan and =^..^= said...

Enjoyed Miss B's reporting, hmmmm, we haven't seen the red headed woodpecker since the winter, now we know why!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kathleen, unfortunately a lot of birds are blood thirsty little monsters. For some reason nature decided to make them that way.

Marissa, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Hey Sharon, we used to hide and play under the bridal wreath when we were kids too. Dry out, not according to our weather forecasters;)

Hi Balisha, Miss B's gossip is more fun than dry facts;)

Hi Nan, ours was just passing thru and stopped for a good meal before continuing his journey.

Marnie

marmee said...

marnie,
this is my first day when i didn't have something on the agenda...so i am having a leisure morning catching up on my long lost blog friends...like you. i love these "old fashions" has you call them. what lovely bushes that produce an emormous amount of blossoms. of course i love that they are white too. did you get them from your parents and grandparents gardens? i really enjoy having things that remind me of earlier days.

moosh said...

Miss B's reports make me LOL. The bushes are beautiful and reminded me of ones at my granparents that were blue and pink. Then I read you comment to Sylvia and think my grandparents plants must have been hydrangea. Thanks for the memories.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Marmee, no mine didn't come from my parent's gardens. I picked them both up shortly after I moved here about 20-years ago.

Hi Moosh, if they bloom in the summer instead of the spring they are hydrangeas. I love them too.
Marnie

Anonymous said...
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perennialgardener said...

Those are two beautiful old fashioned shrubs that I see in my neighborhood all the time. (built in the 60's) Love the update from Miss B, she makes me smile. :)

Pomona Belvedere said...

You are right, the old garden standards clearly bring back a lot of memories! I think that's one of the nice things for plants to do, be holders of human memory. Also, those old plants are standards because they are trouble-free, so I don't think you need to be ashamed of not having newer hybrids. In fact, you could claim to be a cutting-edge heirloom grower!

Q said...

I also have the old fashion spirea bushes. I have propagated mine so I have 3 now! The one on the west side of the yard was a huge old bush when I moved in 32 years ago!
Red headed Woodpeckers are one of my husband's favorite birds. We go looking for them every summmer.
I have enjoyed catching up with you.
Sherry

Carla said...

Those are lovely shrubs.

And I love Miss B's wildlife reports. Very clever! :-)

walk2write said...

You're right, Marnie. Those old-fashioned shrubs (people too, I think) never do get all the good stuff in one package, but I love them anyway. Life would be boring if everything was perfect. Miss B's report is a riot! Can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I love the 'oldies', too! My mom used to have a 'snowball bush' and I remember it well. Love it, and the spirea. Great shot of the red-headed woodpecker! Miss B. has it goin' on, doesn't she! She's quite precocious!

kd said...

Hi Marnie -- what a trip down memory lane thanks to this blog post. I think these two bushes must be examples the plant equivalent of the "comfort food" concept. My plans for tomorrow now include a trip to the garden centre...

/krys

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

It seems that many remember these flowering shrubs from their childhood. I keep saying I am going to buy some Bridal Wreath because they remind me of my grandmother's garden, but to date, I have not...I must rectify this immediately!

Miss B, you do manage to stay on top of things! When do you ever find time to nap? Looking forward to the next bit of gossip--er--news.

Connie said...

Old fashioned plants are the best in my book!
Very handsome woodpecker.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Sorry I haven't been by for a while because I feel like I've missed a lot! Thanks for the nice comment the other day and an explanation of my absence is now posted....

About the Spireas ... that is my absolute favorite and it brings childhood memories back for me too! Funny, I always heard it called 'Bridal Veil' rather than Wreath ... odd how those names morph, eh? If we had the room I'd love to have one like yours. I loathe those nasty "purple" McDonald's and Gas Station varieties, they are so ugly whereas yours is positively gorgeous!

Your Viburnum is also lovely, but again lack of space keeps us from having one ... I suppose we could have one out back, but then that would take away from Hanna's play space! And you know that at our house, it's all about the dog(s)! :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

OOPS!
I forgot to mention how much I'm liking your new feature of Miss B's Wildlife Rumors! You should make it a regular feature when the mood hits you, because your writing is delightful!

Gayle@Mountain Moma said...

Several weeks ago during a service at the church, a woodpecker was pecking away when the preacher was attempting to preach.It was naughty but funny!!

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

You're so lucky to have that beautiful spirea. Wish I had a bigger yard...would love to have it.
Funny story about your creators.
Pretty red-headed woodpecker...that's one we don't get here.