sequoia sempervirons 'chapel hill'

There is a cultivar of Sequoia sempervirons that has performed very well in the Piedmont of NC. About 26 years ago I planted a 1 gal rooted cutting of a sequoia that had survived a cold winter in Chapel Hill. The tree grew horizontally for about 3 years and then threw up a leader that has grown ever since. The tree was in part shade provided by a large red oak tree. Now the Sequoia is even taller than the oak and my guess it that it is now 60 ft tall. The bark is thick and spongey. Overall, this tree offers a mountain feel to the property.


Pinus thunbergii 'Yatsubusa'

This dwarf form of the Japanese Black Pine forms a broad somewhat flat topped small tree. It prefers full sun and once established it is drought tolerant. This particular tree was grafted here at the nursery and grown in the field for about 3 years then ‘harvested’ last winter and re-established in a 20 gal pot. This tree could make a focal point for a garden as the relaltively long needles and fresh green color and the compact habit of the tree all contribute to its beauty.

Weeping White Pine SEEDLINGS

September 17, 2010

A small specialty nursery in Oregon collected seeds from a local weeping white Pine ( Pinus strobus ‘pendula’). Aproximately 500 seedlings germinated and of those there were numerous weeping forms. The beauty of this ‘experiment’ was that the non- weeping plants were then used for rootstocks. Of the many weeping forms, now that they are 6 or 7 years old, the subtle differences between the variants are becoming more obvious. Some are thin needled, some are bluer in color than others, and some weep in a bold vigourous

Weeping White Pine - seedling

 manner while others gently weep. The nurseryman will be making selections out of about 50 plants. I was able to obtain four of his ‘rejects’. Two of these are what I call ramblers – they ramp and hump along the ground. Here is a picture of one of the ‘ramblers’

Juniperus communis 'Spotty Spreader'

This uncommon form of the common juniper has splashes of creamy yellow among the grey green foliage. The low horizontal growing habit of this juniper is also quite attractive. This specimen had been grafted on a short standard to wonderful effect. Prefers sun to mostly sun and after it is established, is quite drought tolerant.

Picea engelmannii 'Snake'

One of the most bizarre looking conifers I have come across, this snake spruce has extremely elongated bluish green needles which lay along the stems. Capable of putting out four ft of growth at the terminal bud, but with few if any side branches. Propagated by grafts, this tree offers little scion material. In fact, if a scion is taken, often the entire branch dies. Thus this tree is very uncommon and rare to find in the industry. Placement of the tree is important. This tree can be particularly effective if planted where the snake-like elongated branches are viewed against the sky. This specimen, in a garden in Greenwood Va. is sited so that the visitor is actually viewing the tree from a path lower from the tree, a most effective placement.

Juniperus horizontalis 'pancake'

For some reason, I really like this plant. Sometimes having an extemely prostrate plant, just centimeters above the ground is what you need, and there are few woody plants that fit that requirement. The cultivar ‘Pancake’ does a nice job of laying flat and growing out in all directions resulting in a ‘pancake’ look. The color is a grayish green with a little blue. I recently found a nice example in a garden I visited.

Raywoods Weeping Cypress

August 4, 2010

Cupressus glabra 'Raywood's weeping'

Sometimes a tree enters the market and there is much excitement over the prospect of the ‘new’ tree. After a few years, a more realistic appraisal of the tree’s value emerges. I had grown disillusioned over the very blue weeping arizona cypress called ‘Raywood’s weeping’. It often grows too fast to be self-supporting. Lower branches can brown out when grown in a pot. Yesterday, when I visited a wonderful garden in Greenwood, VA. I saw a pair of these trees that had been purchased from my nursery about four years ago. They are not staked and are self supporting. The lesson here is that cultural factors can make a huge factor in the outcome of a tree.

Sometimes a horizontal growing juniper can be trained upright resulting in an eye-catching pyramidal

Daub's Frosted Juniper - tree form

  small tree. A dominant leader is the result. Maintain the ‘tree’ by regular pruning and keeping the leader straight.

Juniperus pingii

July 29, 2010

Juniperus pingii in background

We have been selling this rare Chinese juniper for a number of years. In NC this tree grows slowly and after ten years may be six or eight feet tall by as about as wide. I found a good example of a much older specimen in the Portland Oregon area. This tree is about 20 ft by 20 ft wide. What is unique about this tree is the color. It is not green, or blue but somewhere in between. The overall habit is bushy with multiple leaders developing, with the tips droopy. Junipers prefer to be grown on the drier side and are quite drought tolerant once established. The only pests we have seen are occassionally bag worms will become a problem. Propagation is by winter cuttings with bottom heat and mist.

Twinkle toes Cryptomeria

This is one of the new culitvars I saw on my recent trip to Oregon. There is a new Iseli introduction called Cryptomeria japoinica ‘Twinkle toes’ This is a sport off of Tansu with a nice yellow color. It could be grown in part shade and the yellow foliage should really stand out.