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Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price'

Archive entry 17.02.19

4th January 2012

Viburnum tinus is one of those evergreens that promises everything, and then delivers. This is in contrast to Prunus lusitanica for example, which always seems like the prototype for a good idea that was never properly realised. I grew up with it as a pefectly serviceable background to the frippery of the summer garden (I was quite fripperous even then) but came to realise how pointless the summer foam would be without a strong evergreen foundation. Like a marble statue of a nude without a plinth, just wobbling and sinking into the turf.
So I started to grow quite a lot of them and a few are still with me. I need more low level windbreak so it is probably time to revisit the species. I have a few around the garden but they have long fangy roots and don't really move successfully. I was given one by Joan Collins (not that Joan Collins) if I was prepared to dig it up, and twenty years later it is still sulking.
'Eve Price' has been one of the best. It is at the compact end of the range for the species and flowers very freely. There are almost always flowers on it from November to April and they are followed by blue-black berries. I still have two of the original planting, and they are both in stupid places, so it would be a good time to propagate some more and replant.
The original plant was a seedling in a batch of Viburnum tinus grown by Dicksons Nurseries of Chester. James and Francis Dickson were brothers who moved from Perth to Chester in the early 1800's and they each established nursery businesses. The two nurseries merged in the 1880's and continued to expand until they were cultivating over 400 acres. The business fared less well in the 20th Century and land was slowly sold off for development. In 1933 the nursery was closed, and in 1936 the associated shop in Chester followed it.
Gerald Loder bought a plant of Viburnum tinus from Dicksons and planted it at Wakehurst Place. Its compact growth, free flowering and good constitution led to it being named, and as 'Eve Price' it was given an Award of Merit by the RHS in 1961.
It was a good form of the species then, and it is a good form of the species 50 years later. Either it is a good plant, or very little serious breeding work has been done with Viburnum tinus, or most probably both.

11th February 2019