Caring for Perennials
Caring for Perennials: What to Do and When to Do it, by Janet Macunovich (Storey Publishing, 1997; $17.95), is a very practical reference that will help you get the most from your perennials. Inside its covers you'll find a season-by-season guide to creating and maintaining a top-flight garden with a minimum of effort. There's a handy chart in the back of the book detailing month-by-month treatment for more than 100 popular perennials.
Favorite or New Plant
Viburnums are among the most beautiful, versatile, and undemanding shrubs I know. In late spring or early summer, they are bedecked with large, showy clusters of white, cream, or pink-tinged flowers. The flowers cover the shrubs from top to bottom for two or three weeks, and some cultivars offer a spicy, carnation-like fragrance. By late summer, shiny red, yellow, blue, or black berries festoon the plants and remain colorful throughout the winter months.
Few shrubs can match viburnum's handsome, healthy leaves, which earn the plants a place in the landscape even when they're not in fruit or flower. Viburnum leaves range from shiny to felty, leathery to deeply veined, and from the darkest green through rich medium green to gray in color. As a bonus, the foliage of most deciduous viburnums turns brilliant yellow-orange to red-purple in the fall.
Viburnums are small to large deciduous, semi-evergreen or evergreen shrubs; they thrive in full sun or bright, open shade, and tolerate a wide range of soils.