Blackhaws are hanging on viburnum branches in big navy blue clusters right now.
This Viburnum prunifolium in the center of the back yard had a tough season. I had become quite proud of how I trained this thickety shrub into a little multi-stemmed tree. It had twisted trunks that branched low, and it looked quite graceful.
But long before the dry summer -- last year in fact -- the back half died off. Mike and Chris from Bartlett both looked at it and could not figure out the problem. By the middle of this summer it was clear the dead half had to be cut down.
What remains is half a tree, canted to the side, bare in back and full only in front. It's sparsely leaved, oddly shaped and fall color was nothing much. I'm this close to taking the whole thing out.
Then it went and put out these striking dark blue berries and I'm wavering. I don't even remember the tree flowering much this spring, but it must have. There are fruits.
So I'll let it continue to grow and see what it does next spring. There is always the hope that a malformed, severely pruned tree will fill in the empty spots over the years as sun hits the now open branches.
Especially such a stiffly branched plant that wants to sucker like blackhaw viburnum does. It has oddly angled branches when full and healthy, and my hope is that those awkward branches will angle out to fill the empty areas in back.
Anyway, I like the blue black haws.