Chinese Snowball Vibernum: A Southern Garden Classic

My favorite Southern garden shrub is Limelight Hydrangea although Chinese Snowball Vibernum runs a very close second!  This widely used ornamental plant is one of the easiest ways to make an early spring statement in your garden.  They are sometimes confused with the old-fashioned Annabelle hydrangea because of their large, showy blooms, but they make their appearance several weeks earlier.  Their spectacular, softball size blooms are comprised of pristine white flower clusters.  Although the blooms start out as lime green in color, within a few weeks they mature into voluptuous garden delights that resemble cheerleader pompoms!  The trees, which can tower to twenty feet or so, thrive in full or partial sun, require little pruning, and are insect, disease, and deer resistant!  These absolutely stunning trees also attract birds.  For an absolutely “heaven on earth” scene, many gardeners pair Chinese Snowballs with azaleas.

The first chartreuse blooms against a clear blue sky first appeared in my neighborhood the last of March –

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Less than two weeks later, the blooms matured into pure white bliss . . .

 

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While coming home from a friend’s house, I spotted this Chinese Snowball which was definitely at its spring peak…

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I love the contrast of the pink azaleas and the creamy white vibernum blooms . . .

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My Mother loved the Chinese Virbernum which was growing near her beloved rose garden.  In the spring of 2010, several months after she passed away, I planted one of my own.  It didn’t bloom in either 2011 or 2012.  However, in September of 2013, shortly after my Daddy passed away, I walked outside into my backyard early one morning and discovered the blooms which are pictured below.   Typically, these trees only bloom once in the early spring.  What a spectacular garden gift from above!

 

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Japanese snowball blooms are ideal for using in floral design…

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The pictures in the McCarty pottery bowl were  “repeats” from Spring, 2013.  They were gathered from my Mother’s tree in Mississippi..

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My Mother’s tree was a little past peak this past weekend when I was visiting in Mississippi, nonetheless, the blooms were still impressive..

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We enjoyed the last of the spring blooms on the breakfast table for the weekend.

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“A garden without a viburnum is akin to life without music or art”.  – Dr. Michael Dir (University of Georgia, Horticulture professor)

 

 

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Every Southern garden should have at least a couple of these.   I can’t imagine a better way to kick off the spring season…

 

 

 

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