Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Snow Balls in July

Although I would love some snow right now during the hottest June/July in Georgia's weather history, the "snowballs" I'm talking about are growing on the "Japanese Snowball" bush blooming in my front yard this week. Formally known as "Viburmum Opulus," this hardy perennial has been a stable in my front yard since I moved into this house. Don't confuse these blooms with the well know hydrangea, as they are not related (even though I find that hard to believe).

This bush, as seen above, can grow ten to twenty feet high and if let to grow probably that much in width. So make sure you have a spot in sun or partial shade in your landscape that doesn't mind the growth, or be ready to trim the bush back close to the ground every year. Of course the name "Japanese" tells you this deciduous shrub (loses leaves in the winter) originates from Japan and China.

The blooms in the beginning have a green tinge, then change from cream to white, and depending on the soil and location can even turn pink to purple before drying and turning brown, just like the hydrangea (although, plant experts say they are not related, I still believe there is some relation).

Robert Fortune introduced this species in 1844 from plants cultivated in the orient to Europe and within twenty years varieties found their way to America through travelers to the new world. Blooms can be dried and used in arrangements, just like hydrangeas (I still think they are related).

I have found this shrub to be hardy through drought and flood. Plant in early spring or late fall in good garden soil mixed with peat. Although, most experts recommend trimming back in late fall, I've found they will catch up and bloom regardless, but I do like a regular schedule and usually trim my bushes in spring.

I know, "snowballs" in July does seem far fetched, but actually, I have seen it happen years ago when I lived in Colorado.......

until next time..........

Happy Gardening 2013!

Posted by Wilma Smith

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