Plant of the Week: GLITTERS & GLOWS® Arrowwood viburnum

Opening Day

From deer hunters to non-migratory birds feasting on fall berries, most of us here up North aren’t too put off by a little cold weather. Sure, it’s an attitude shift; we aren’t likely to see warm temperatures again for at least 5 months. If you’re a gardener in the North, you start using terms like “hard frost” and “winter interest.”

You also start to hear a little term called opening day. Here in Michigan, Tuesday is opening day of rifle season for deer hunters. I expect it’s so in many other states, too.

Lots of people who don’t hunt are probably excited about opening day too.

Sure, it’s a big economic boost to many regions, but it’s the thought of thinning out the state’s deer herd that appeals to many drivers and gardeners. Every year there are around 50,000 car-deer crashes in the state of Michigan. The number of gardens damaged by deer is uncounted, but I’m willing to bet that it’s even higher.

Gardening with deer in mind

While there is no such thing as a deer-proof plant, viburnum is considered to be reliably resistant to deer browsing. A Viburnum dentatum species, like Glitters & Glows®, is even more so.

Durable Glitters & Glows® arrowwood viburnum is a real workhorse in the landscape and will tolerate most conditions. It is hardy to USDA zone 4 and will grow in sun or partial shade, plus it has extremely glossy foliage that really catches the eye. They are very handsome plants.

Why do I use the word they? I’m glad you asked!

Two for the Price of one!

Arrowwood viburnum needs a pollinator in order to produce fruit. It used to be that in order to get those beautiful blue berries, you had to buy both All That Glitters® and All That Glows® viburnums so they could pollinate one another.

But with Glitters & Glows®, you’re getting both plants in one pot, so you’re guaranteed to get beautiful blue berries in your garden no matter what.

At 4-5′ tall and wide, these are smaller than other arrowwood viburnums, so they can be tucked neatly into any spot you could imagine. When they’re not in flower or covered in bunches of berries, you’ll notice their shiny leaves catch the light beautifully. It makes a great companion to other shrubs with interesting foliage and other native plants.

Strategic choices

Regardless of whether or not we can thin out our local herd, we have to plant strategically if we’re in an area with heavy deer pressure. Glitters & Glows® viburnum is a good start. A reference for checking the relative deer resistance of any other plants you’re considering is this one at Rutgers University.

When you’re out and about next week, another good strategy is to stay aware and stay safe, whether you’re hunting or simply driving your car. Your local songbirds might need a safety talk, too; those tasty viburnum berries we provide them can be just as dangerous as the local pub’s happy hour.

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