Treasure in the Garden

My family and I recently moved to the former home of a gardener who had little time to weed during the Imagelast hectic months prior to his own move. Consequently, most afternoons will find me on my hands and knees ripping up wild grapevine, porcelain berry, English ivy, and a host of other invasive plants to reveal the treasure beneath. So far, I’ve uncovered three buried rose bushes, one hydrangea, an azalea, and two lilacs.


My children have found their share of buried treasure, too, including a boot-shaped cement planter, a cement robin that now graces my son’s desk, and a wobbly wire angel bearing a strange resemblance to Minnie Mouse. They have also added a pile of stones taken from beneath the drain spout to their “crystal” collection. I’m hoping this won’t affect drainage.


Among all of these discoveries is a row of viburnum marching across the front of the house. As an Arboretum educator, what better plant could I have chosen for my front yard than this lovely native? My viburnum shrubs will bear creamy white flowers in the spring, which will later form drupes, or berries containing a single seed. In some species of viburnum, the berries are edible. Others are mildly toxic to humans. Viburnum is a host plant for many butterfly species; since we’ve moved into our home, we’ve enjoyed watching a variety of butterflies from the front porch.


Adkins Arboretum is selling two species of viburnum at the annual Fall Plant Sale, to be held the weekend of September 14-16. Consider planting Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’ or Viburnum dentatum in your own front yard. The butterflies will be sure to thank you.


For more information about the plant sale and other Arboretum programs, visit


by Jenny Houghton

Youth Program Coordinator


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