I have several difficult areas of my garden that I did not know quite what to do with. Having taken out a vast quantity of yew plants that had been left to grow into enormous bushes over the previous owner's occupancy of my house, I realized why yew had been left to grow in those exact areas that were dry, shady and north-facing! Anyway, I started visualizing the garden differently and saw that I still had 2 viburnum plants --no doubt acquired by the previous owner locally because the plants were identical and only held 2 season of interest, hence no berries ever-- and I believe in the adage 'find what grows well in your garden and/or area, and plant more of it!' At least, where difficult areas of the garden are concerned.
I found Classic Viburnums online and realized what an incredible treasure trove their website is! A virtual compendium of viburnums, highly detailed and with a generous quantity of photographs to help the customer appreciate how big a plant could grow, how it might look in our own garden spaces and how many seasons of interest we could expect from it. I am always interested in every plant I choose for my garden to do as much work for me as possible, so viburnums are a good choice: early leaf-out in MI, spring flowering, scented flowers often, late summer berries, fall foliage.
I took note of viburnum types that interested me because they would fit in my spaces, could handle the somewhat shady conditions and would grow to the dimensions required to hide ugly structures at the border of my garden where the neighbour's choices intrude. I emailed Gary with my choices and asked him to help me decide which viburnum plants to choose of similar dimensions and performance that would cross-pollinate with my choices to ensure 3 seasons of interest, with berry production. What then ensued was a very prompt, lengthy, detailed, friendly conversation with Gary over a period of weeks as we discussed best choices, shipping costs, shipping dates and replacement policies in case plants put in the ground in October/November in MI failed to leaf out in the spring.
Gary's communications are stellar. He explains pricings, is open to so many options regarding best-fit shipping dates for the client and is so knowledgeable and encouraging, such that I felt confident in my plant choices and decision to order 6 2-3 year plants from an online vendor with whom I had no prior experience.
My 6 plants arrived in late September, were nicely branched and sized for their type, were well packaged and had suffered no damage in transit. I wasn't able to get them in the ground immediately as I was waiting for fall rains to soften the soil somewhat, then my elderly mother came to stay from overseas and required a hospital visit while with me and so it actually took me until mid to late November before I could get the 6 plants in the ground. Sadly, since my fall planting plans had been scuppered by life events, I could not put 4 of them in their eventual homes as I had run out of digging time and weather and had to plant them in my overflow, temporary spot after removing my dahlia bulbs for the season. Would they be OK resting there over the winter? Had I planted these shrubs too late in the season? Would the roots fail to thrive?
I am pleased to say that I needn't have worried about my plants from Gary at all. All 6 leafed out just beautifully this spring. One of the Carlesi plants got half dug up by an animal in early March/April but I got its roots recovered and back under soil and the plant has not suffered any. The Carlesi type and the Acerifolia viburnums all flowered in the spring, are still flowering, in fact, which was a delightful surprise for such young plants!
I used the 2 larger Tomentosum plants to create a woodland area under some pine trees at the edge of my property where their mature dimensions will hide my neighbour's ugly fencing and a/c unit. I surrounded them with ferns and Chocolate Cherry Astillbe whose large, red flower spikes will be beautiful in summer. I can see this little woodland area from my back door as I stand on my deck and view my whole back garden and it is just beautiful: there is movement between the delicate forms of the Astillbe, the dancing fronds of the tall ferns and the gently branching arms of the viburnums. This area has come together just as I imagined it would and I thank Gary for his support. As we start out gardening, everything we come to know is the product of trial and error and our best research, guess work and visualization. Gary supported my visions and sold me the best plants to make it become a reality. Thank you Gary!
All that remains is for me to now create the garden bed in the front, filtered sun/shade area into which I shall move the Acerifolia plants to grow and take their centre stage.
I would not hesitate to recommend Classic Viburnums to anyone looking for the highest quality, highly dependable shrubs with multiple seasons of interest for their garden. Have no fear about ordering online: Gary and Sue Ladman will not steer you wrong and they care as much about your satisfaction with the plants as you do! In fact, my recent chat with Gary confirms this: my happiness in creating my woodland garden with the help of his viburnum plants quite made his day!
DonnaMack Elgin, IL (Zone 5a) (62 reviews) April 25, 2019
Posted on May 19, 2017, updated April 25, 2019
Posted on April 13, 2016, updated May 19, 2017
Posted on June 18, 2015, updated April 13, 2016
Posted on November 16, 2014, updated June 18, 2015
Posted on April 30, 2014, updated November 16, 2014
Posted on April 9, 2014, updated April 30, 2014
I just received five of the most outrageously fabulous viburnums from Gary Ladman of Classic Viburnums. Perfectly wrapped and shipped, they are wonderful, and a fraction of the cost of the ones I could buy here. I pretty much knew which plants I wanted, having grown viburnums before, but Gary led me to some new cultivars, and his communication was the best I have ever enjoyed. He actually called to ask if I still wanted the plants I had ordered last year, and asked if I wanted delayed shipping. I had been dreaming of them all winter.
Having had this experience, I will never again buy a viburnum in a garden center. Why do that when I can get beautiful plant material, outstanding customer service, perfect yet economical shipping and access to a complete expert and professional?On April 30th, 2014, DonnaMack added the following:
Happy with my initial purchase of five viburnums, I emailed Gary Ladham about the possible purchase of two carlesi, asn asked whether he had a compactum, a full size, a suggestion? I am happy to say that days later Sue Ladham emailed me about the shipment of two plants. Expertly packaged, they were in bloom in the box, and no a flower was out of place. I would like to mention as I did in my original review how beautifully branched these plants are.
One thing I truly respect, beyond the care put into the plants and the time spent with me as a relatively small customer, is the fact that one is invoiced after delivery. It is clear that the customer\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s satisfaction is paramount.
I am so pleased with my two carlesis that I have decided to install them in a far more prominent location than I had planned. They are too beautiful to be missed.On November 16th, 2014, DonnaMack added the following:
I would just like to add how beautifully my viburnums performed this season. I was delighted, in particular, with the sensational fall color on my two compact viburnums, and the many berries on my viburnum dentatum,\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'Chicago Lustre\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'. Because of difficult conditions in the spring, it leafed out late, but went on to become one of my most spectacular plants. I find myself looking around my yard for more locations, so that I can take advantage of the stellar quality of the viburnums produced by Gary and Sue Ladham.On June 18th, 2015, DonnaMack added the following:
My seven viburnums acquired from Gary and Sue Ladman performed like champs and were gorgeous during and after bloom. The plants are so beautifully shaped. I am enjoying watching them form their autumn berries.
I must find room for more!On April 13th, 2016, DonnaMack added the following:
I am happy to report another completely satisfying experience working with Sue and Gary Ladman of this fine company. My two opulus plants just arrived, and there is not a leaf out of place. These are particularly hard to find, and receiving them as promised, and in such perfect condition, is a thrill for me. Ordering was easy, communication was easy, and it is gratifying to find vendors who are so completely devoted to not only great plant material, but excellent customer service.
I would also like to add that all of the plants I have ordered from them broke dormancy beautifully this spring, and that all the wood has survived the winter, and they are beautifully budded out. I find myself displacing other kinds of shrubs (hydrangeas, fothergillas) so that I will have the opportunity to add more plants from Classic Viburnums.On May 19th, 2017, DonnaMack added the following:
I would like to report the very happy experience my clients had with Gary Ladman. I am lucky enough to garden myself and to help others in their plant selection. They were seeking two viburnum carlesi and were also looking for a viburnum to fill a particular site.
Gary was gracious enough to take time away from his incredibly busy schedule to speak with my clients by telephone. He took into consideration all of their needs and wishes. Then he suggested two containers of a special viburnum carlesi and proposed a viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Mariesii - in a seven gallon container. He expressed his concern about the need for me to plant it, but I assured him that I had planted a five gallon plant from him before, and that I was capable of doing it.
The three plants arrived yesterday, perfectly packaged, and not a leaf out of place. We had chose a special location for the Mariesii and because of the expert manner in which it was packaged I had no difficulty in getting it into the ground.
Great plant material, great communication, great customer service from a true gentleman.On April 25th, 2019, DonnaMack added the following:
Being a fan of unusual viburnums, I was intrigued by one never seen in garden centers: viburnum acerifolium, also know as mapleleaf viburnum. It grows well in dry, acid woodland conditions. It needs full shade. The spring and summer color is nice, but the killer is the fall color: "Pastel fall colors of creamy-pink, rose, and red, to grape juice purple." It's native. It spreads. It's perfect for a section of my yard.
Gary and Sue Ladham sent me three, for a fabulous price, and they were shipped such that not a leaf was out of place. I recommend them to everyone.
I initially contacted Classic Viburnums because the pollinator I had bought elsewhere for my Viburnum dentatum 'Blue Muffin' wasn't blooming at the same time, hence no berry production on either cultivar. Gary quickly responded and provided me with a list of correct compatible pollinators and their bloom times. After a couple more pleasant conversations, I was all set with viburnums that would not only bloom at the correct time as my existing varieties for ample berry production, but that would also grow to a compact size that would fit into our ever-shrinking urban landscape. Classic Viburnums also had another, highly-fragrant shrub that I've always wanted! Outstanding, beautiful specimens all three turned out to be!
Lastly, I was extremely fortunate to be able to meet the people that own and operate Classic Viburnums in person. When my order was ready to ship, Gary told me that he and Sue would soon be visiting the city I where I live. They graciously offered to drop off my plants in person! This was a kind and generous gesture that I will never forget.
You won't find a better vendor of quality plants or two finer people anywhere.
Posted on June 23, 2015, updated November 4, 2015
I was recommended to speak with Gary at Classic Viburnums from another member on this site. I\'m very glad I did. Not only is Gary extremely knowledgeable in his field, he is very kind and responds quickly. I bought several plants from him this spring. A couple were a little thirsty after the journey from Nebraska but otherwise all the plants looked excellent. I received them several weeks ago and all are still doing great. It will be exciting to see them grow and berry in the coming years. I\'m sure I\'ll be going back to Gary in the future for more viburnums!On November 4th, 2015, Sequoiadendron4 added the following:
I bought several more viburnums this September and have planted them in the yard. I must have the viburnum bug or something. Same as last time, Gary was very helpful and accommodating. The plants were well packed and watered. A couple were a little small for their pot size but they were loaded with dormant leaf buds for next season. I have no doubt they will grow well in 2016.
Posted on April 19, 2014, updated June 18, 2015
After finding this website on the net, I called their number and spoke with Gary Ladman for a long time to discuss the purchase of 2 \'Conoy\' Viburnums which I have purchased elsewhere in the past and were no longer able to be found on Long Island where I live. He described the shipping process to me and how they would arrive (UPS). Upon opening the box, the plants were packaged very well with newspaper and packing tape and some bubble wrap around the top of the shrubs. The root systems were healthy and intact when I removed the shrubs from their pots. These are a semi evergreen to evergreen viburnum. There were leaves on the 2 shrubs and both plants were labeled.
Only negative I can say is that the company does not accept credit cards and once the item is received, a personal check is sent to this company. I think that the company does not want to deal with credit card companies and their high fees to merchandisers. I would definitely do business with this company again despite this.On June 18th, 2015, Jazzmom added the following:
After the horrible winter LI, experienced in 2014 with extended cold and that kept the snow on the ground longer, I have to say that these plants are doing well with very little winter damage to the leaves and branches.
I don't normally write online reviews, but felt that the owners of Classic Viburnums should be recognized for their outstanding customer service and attention to detail. I was in search of Viburnum awabuki Chindo's and sent them an inquiry on their website. The owner promptly returned my message with a phone call and spent a great deal of time talking with me to answer all of my questions. He took the time to follow up by sending an email with photos of the plants I was interested in. I had some concerns due to the long distance the plants would have to be shipped (from NE to SC), but the plants arrived in perfect condition. It was amazing; not a leaf was out of place! A LOT of care and attention to detail was placed into the careful packaging of these plants. I am very pleased with my purchase and highly recommend Classic Viburnums. Vibrant, healthy plants, outstanding customer service and expert advice. Five stars!
100% happy. A great nursery run by knowledgable professionals who really care about what they do and are a pleasure to do business with. Fabulous variety you can't find anywhere else. Well rooted and strong plants--no cheap tricks or short cuts on the cultivation practices here: these are grown well--and I have no doubt that they will overwinter nicely too. The packaging job to Chicago was military spec. Truly Flawless. The viburnums looked like they had just travelled down the block. Thank you Classic Viburnums, I'll be back again.
1alh1 Sidney, OH (Zone 6a) (10 reviews) May 30, 2012
I, too, took ViburnumValley's recommendation to place an order with Classic Viburnums. I spoke with Gary, the owner, at length before selecting the perfect viburnum to pollinate my Blue Muffin. Gary was extremely helpful in steering me in the right direction, and even placed two follow-up calls to make sure I was satisfied and knew exactly how to plant and care for my new shrub. It arrived in perfect condition with no leaf loss or wilting. My 'Little Joe' is now thriving and looking healthy thanks to an experienced nurseryman, expert advice, and personalized service.
Clove Union City, NJ (17 reviews) February 23, 2012
I am an avid plant hobbyist who has been mail-ordering plants for thirty years. As a customer, I am exceptionally satisfied placing and receiving an order from Classic Viburnums and their website ClassicViburnums.com. Their user-friendly website offers a "Viburnum Library" with complete horticultural information on each plant. I'm impressed by their listing of both traditional and rare, hard-to-find Viburnums. When I unpacked my Classic Viburnum shipment, I was left breathless with the size, health, beauty, and elegance of the plants. At Classic Viburnums, I receive excellent personable and friendly customer service. The plants that I order have full healthy growth, strong roots, and are meticulously packaged to arrive in perfect condition. I highly recommend Classic Viburnums to beginning and highly experienced gardeners alike. And to those hard-to-impress seasoned gardeners, I must say that ClassicViburnums.com is truly a new adventure in gardening.
I rate this company as OUTSTANDING!!! Wow, Gary went above and beyone to help me with the huge task of selecting the correct Viburnums, not only for my zone but for color, fruit production, their pollinators and for year around interest. He was so patient with my many newbie questions. The plants were shipped lightening fast and in Perect Condition. I hate to think of the hours he spent on the packaging! They were shipped as though they were made of glass. I also owe a huge thank you to Mr. "ViburnumValley" for recommending Classic Viburnum and his recommendations for plants as well. None of this would have been possible without their combined help. I'm thrilled with the selection of HEALTHY plants and look forward years of beauty. My birds & I thank you!!