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Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont'

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont'

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont'

This plant is a lovely addition to the winter border as it is covered in strongly fragrant tubular flowers in shades of rich pink. Equally at home in a sunny border or in a woodland setting, we grow it in groups of up to four in association with other fragrant shrubs such as Chimonanthus nitens in the Winter Garden and Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty' AGM in the Lower Shrubbery. We have also planted it in the Woodland Walk in Lady Anne's garden where it makes a valuable contribution to the shrubby layer among the rhododendrons and camellias. 

Vital statistics

Common name
Bodnant viburnum
Family
Caprifoliaceae
Height & spread
3m x 2m (10ft by 6ft)
Form
Long-lived, upright, deciduous shrub
Soil
Moist, well-drained, deep, rich, loamy soil
Aspect
Full sun or partial shade
Hardiness
Hardy throughout the British Isles.

Viburnum

The genus Viburnum contains about 150 evergreen and deciduous shrubs and small trees, mainly from wooded areas of northern temperate regions, but extending to Malaysia and South America.

Viburnum x bodnantense is grown for its fragrant, pretty, pink winter blossom, while others produce beautiful, scented flowers in spring or early summer. The fruits of Viburnum are usually small and spherical, and usually black, blue or red, but V. opulus 'Xanthocarpum', a cultivar of the guelder rose, bears bright yellow berries. Many of the deciduous viburnums such as V. dentatum also provide rich autumn colour.

Viburnums are excellent plants for a woodland garden or shrub border. 

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont'

V. x bodnantense is the result of a cross between Viburnum farreri (formerly V. fragrans) and V. grandiflorum. The cross was originally made by Charles Lamont, the Assistant Curator at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh in 1933. He didn't rate the resulting plants as being any better than their parents, so did not propagate them.

In 1934 and 1935, the same cross was done at Bodnant, hence the derivation of the name. 'Dawn' was the first cultivar to be named, 'Deben' was another and, after he died, 'Charles Lamont' was also honoured.

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont'  is a medium to large deciduous shrub with a strong upright habit when young, later arching outwards gracefully. With burnished bronze foliage in autumn and exquisitely fragrant flowers, it earns its place in any garden.

The flowering season is roughly mid-October until March, but the dense clusters of sweetly scented, rose-tinted flowers often start appearing earlier while the leaves are still on, and can continue past Easter. The flowers are generally frost resistant but even if they do get frosted, more soon open within a few days. Cut a few sprigs for the house - as cut flowers they last a long time.

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' has dark pink flowers that age to white, strongly flushed pink. V. x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' is similar, but the flowers are a purer, brighter pink.

Cultivation

  • Grow in a sunny site, though it can also tolerate dappled shade - in too much shade it will just grow towards the light.
  • Grow them in moist but well-drained conditions in deep, rich, loamy soil.
  • Honey fungus and leaf spot can be problematic.
  • As it flowers on bare stems, it is best planted against a green background (such as hedging) to show off its beautiful clusters of flowers, or mixed in with other coloured stems.
  • Alternatively, plant them where you can appreciate the fragrance beside a frequently used path.

Propagation

  • Take softwood cuttings in early summer, or hardwood cuttings (winter-flowering species) in early autumn for deciduous viburnums, and semi-ripe cuttings in summer for evergreen types.
  • Sow seeds in containers or in a seed bed in the autumn, bearing in mind that seeds from hybrids and cultivars are unlikely to be the same as the parent.

AGM

The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' an Award of Garden Merit and described it as:

"Vigorous, upright large deciduous shrub with dark purple shoots bearing terminal clusters of scented, pink flowers. Oval leaves open bronze-tinted, becoming dark green by summer."

Related links

Related links

There's more on viburnums in RHS Plant Selector.

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