Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sweet Viburnum

On Sunday I planted several new viburnums along the back fence, anticipating that someday (soon, I hope) these will rise up and create an even better sense of isolation for the back yard, not that we ever even see another human being from back there. The sweet viburnum (playfully classified as Viburnum odoratissimum) grows to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide (less so for our unfortunate neighbors to the north--not that size is an issue), thick and fragrant and dense and perfect to block out all traces of the un-backyard.

Putting in new plants is an emotional process for me, as reluctant as I am to admit it. (Honestly, would you force me to say that I'm a wonderful person?) You start out with a plant, take it to the site of its new home, put it to the side, and then begin digging, which in this case was tough because the ground is cross-hatched with one-inch thick roots in all directions, letting me know that the neighborhood does not exactly welcome additional water-suckers.

The viburnum is not concerned, not complaining, not scolding me for picking a questionable spot; it is just waiting, maybe like a kid waiting to enter a college dorm room for the first time but thinking only about beer or boys or girls, not about the significance of the event itself, which for the viburnum is permanent--there's no going back to the store. It's show time.

For the next few weeks, the viburnum will be vulnerable and will depend on me for water. If things work out, the plants will become independent just as I get tired of fussing over them.

Meanwhile, Willow, who has no interest in botany or landscaping, is prone to displays of ennui, probably for attention since we are likely to say Oh Willow, why are you looking so sad, after which she will jump up and run around and lick us. I suppose she knows that we never tire of fussing over her.


  1. In Arkansas it's called weltschmerz, as in That drunk dude over there in the black shirt is shore full of weltschmerz.

  2. Indeed, I didn't know this. Good to know what we're dealing with though.