Quite often, when I am enthusiastically discussing conifers with my friends (whom I like to refer to as pre-conifer lovers), I will guide them to the realization that not all conifers are evergreen. This part of our conversation usually falls somewhere between, “Not all cones are pine cones.” and “Some conifers appear to have berries.”
Today, while doing a little mid-winter garden cleanup and protection from a possible snap of cold arctic air dropping over the PNW, I was admiring the unique winter beauty of my Weeping Larch. Perhaps I was influenced by the pleasantly hypnotic rhythms of Bob Marley playing on my mp3 player, but I noticed for the first time how much the exposed branches of Larix decidua ‘Pendula’ looked like beaded dreadlocks flowing in the winter breeze. Early in the spring those locks will burst forth with soft, light green needles covering the branches to give our “Rasta Tree” a full thick head of hair. The needles darken some as they mature through the summer and then blaze with bright golden yellow tones in autumn before they drop to the ground making a golden carpet beneath the tree.
I could stop there with my excitement about this great garden specimen, but I have not mentioned the versatility of this Weeping Larch. Imagine using this great tree as a tall centerpiece, a corner accent, or cascading over a wall. You might even choose to work with its very flexible branches to create a unique sculpture or topiary. Not only are the larch generally more tolerant of wet soil conditions than other conifers, but with zone 2 and 3 hardiness, many will thrive in cold areas as far north as Alaska.
With all these positive attributes, the larch certainly are another genera of conifer that satisfy my soul.
Thanks to my Iseli friends for the links!