Plant of the Week: Dawn viburnum

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. This week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Although blooming in December is not entirely mystical, it is rare for Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' to put on such a grand show this early. With a special appreciation for the unbelievably warm weather we relished this December, the clustered pink blossoms arrived with flourish. The Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' hybrid features dark pink buds opening to paler pink blossoms.

These blossoms have a spicy, sweet intoxicating fragrance that arouses the senses. When you walk by, be sure to breathe deep as you pass these beauties in the park. The Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' is particularly attractive on gloomier days, when the pink pops against the city's gray skies.

Viburnum farreri and Viburnum grandiflorum were first crossed in the early 1930s in the United Kingdom to create Viburnum x bodnantense. The hybrid acquired the best traits of its parents: an attractive growing habit and an extensive bloom period. Lucky for us, Viburnum x bodnantense affords much showier blooms than either of its parents, providing the perfect antidote to a frigid winter day.

For best results and maximum flowers, plant your specimen in dappled shade to full sun and in moist, well-drained soil. However, many sources claim that the Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' is quite resilient and will survive in less ideal conditions, such as part sun and dry soil.

Gansevoort Woodland, Diller - von Furstenberg Sundeck, and the southern end of the Chelsea Thicket.

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