DescriptionA common sight in hedgerows and gardens across the country, Guelder roses (Viburnum opulus) are an excellent hedging plant, or can be grown as a single specimen in a slightly wild area of a garden. The large white flat topped clusters of blossom in spring are a magnet for bees, and the bright orange fruits are devoured by birds, especially bullfinches and mistle thrushes.The fruit are mildly toxic when raw, but cooked can be used to make wonderful hedgerow jams and jellies. The bark has a long history of being used to relieve muscle cramps.
Guelder roses are tough and hardy, thriving in most situations except for acidic soils. They prefer a slightly damp, chalky soil, in which they will romp away, happily growing 50-75cm per year. They are easy to prune and keep under control, and will not overwhelm other plants in a mixed hedge.
The name is thought to refer to the Dutch province of Gelderland, where a particularly fine form of Viburnum, or Snowball Tree, was originally found.