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Selecting the right shrub

“You can’t always get what you want,” famously sang the Rolling Stones back in 1969. The Stones were singing about happiness, but the same often holds true in gardening. In January of this year, I wrote about a small terrace and garden installation on the site of our granddaughter Emma’s old playhouse. The terrace has settled in comfortably beneath some mature shade trees, with a small crescent of daffodils, irises and the “New Dawn” rose on one side and newly planted azaleas to enclose the area on two other sides. The terrace sits close to the garage, and as is the case with most garages, stacks of bricks, blocks, and wood are piled behind the building.

We needed three tall, wide, and evergreen shrubs to hide the building supplies behind the garage. We had never grown viburnums, so we decided to look for a species that would fit my criteria, and at first, I thought we had found it. Viburnum awabuki “Chindo” is a hardy evergreen with large, leathery, dark green leaves and clusters ...

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