Reach for the sky

I’ve been sitting next to my nice warm woodstove while enjoying the snow falling outside my large picture window. From where I sit, this unusual snowfall has covered the landscape almost as if giant spoonfuls of whipped cream have been dropped and plopped on all the plants, completely covering the ground. One of my conifers seems to be stretching up and out of that whipped cream coating as if someone had just given it the command, “Reach for the sky!”

Juniperus communis 'Compressa'

Reminiscent of the stately Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’ stands tall and narrow like a marble column in the ancient city of Rome. The one I’m looking at must be 20 years old and it stands approximately eight feet tall with a width of just over a foot.

Unlike the Italian Cypress, ‘Compressa’ is hardy into Zone 4 (-30º F) so I know this is a plant that my friends in the mid-west can also enjoy. When acquired as a young plant, ‘Compressa’ is excellent in the rock garden and very suitable for use in container gardening with groups of miniature conifers and selected annuals or perennials or by itself. Mine is planted in the rockery in well drained soil where it receives a few hours of partial shade. I know that it would also thrive in full sun but may need to be protected from the intense winter winds in the mid-western states.

Worthy of a place in any garden, ‘Compressa’ stands out all season long with its tightly held bluish green foliage, narrow form and apparent desire to reach for the sky.

Conifer Lover

Thanks to Iseli Nursery for the photo links.


Love at first sight

Picea glauca 'Pendula'The first time I saw this conifer I was absolutely in love. Seriously. This is one of those fantastic trees that deserves a place in every garden and rates among the most hardy conifers around too! Heavy snow load? Ice storm? No problem!

Picea glauca ‘Pendula’ is a stunning, majestic beauty. The foliage is a dark grey-green giving this conifer a good solid appearance. This thing grows straight as an arrow and shoots up toward the sky while all its branches curve down, layer upon layer, creating a wonderfully tall and narrow spire. Many weeping conifers have very flexible branches that dangle loosely, hanging and drooping toward the ground, but P.g. ‘Pendula’s branches seem programed to turn and head for the ground in a very purposed manner. Its form reminds me of my favorite local waterfall, Multnomah Falls in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. This is one of those trees that as much as I try to describe it, I don’t think I’ll ever do it justice. Even when photographed, it never seems as impressive to me as standing next to one well placed in a garden!

I’d love have the space to plant a long row of these around the border of my property to create a tall living castle wall!

Until next time,

Conifer Lover

Thanks again to Iseli for the photo links.