Elegant whimsy

Back in 2007, the American Conifer Society awarded two fantastic conifers with the status, “Conifer of the Year.” Picea orientalis ‘Tom Thumb’ is a golden miniature form discovered as a witches’ broom growing on P.o. ‘Skylands’. I mentioned it in one of the first blogs I wrote in October of that year. The second selection is perhaps one of the best upright growing, weeping forms of spruce you will find.

Picea omorika ‘Pendula Bruns’ is one of those trees that always turns heads because of the wonderful character it adds to the garden. This narrow upright grower, as it matures, will begin to slightly lean and curve and gently twist its way upward in a very narrow spire that will fit in the smallest gardens. As its terminal growth heads ever skyward, all of its side branches will droop and fall toward the ground. Once on the ground, those lower branches will begin to spread and layer upon one another creating a low ground cover. Of course, with a little pruning, those lower branches can easily be removed if one prefers other companion plants beneath this elegant living garden sculpture.

Picea omorika 'Pendula Bruns'
‘Pendula Bruns’ is an exceptional selection for the garden. Its narrow footprint and unique character make it one of the best weeping conifers available.

I love its light green foliage and the silvery cast of the undersides of the needles. At times its form reminds me of an old wizard, standing with a slight bend to his posture, while watching over the garden and all its inhabitants. I’ve seen others planted in groups of three that have appeared as snake-like creatures dancing to the secret tune of a snake charmer. Others inspire different imaginations depending on the angle with which one views the garden. Once I saw a large specimen planted near a Pinus densiflora ‘Umbraculifera’ and from a distance the two looked like a giant mastodon.

I hope you’ll have an opportunity to enhance your garden (and stimulate your imagination) by planting at least one ‘Pendula Bruns’ in your garden. I’m confident that you’ll love this hardy, elegant and whimsical conifer as much as I do.

Conifer Lover

Weeping for the falls

Just about a year ago I featured a great new weeping white pine; one of
the 2009 Collectors Conifer of the Year plants made available through the
American Conifer Society. Pinus strobus ‘Niagara Falls’ is a wonderful
new selection with slower growth than the well known Pinus strobus
‘Pendula’. I’ve had people ask me if P.s.‘Niagara Falls’ is something they
should bother with if they already have a P.s. ‘Pendula’ in their collection.
For me, the answer is simple. If you have enough room in your garden, YES!

Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’ is a grand specimen that, like many weeping
conifers and depending on culture, may grow as a low, sprawling,
magnificent ground cover or a tall undulating specimen reaching out this
way and that. A fast grower, ‘Pendula’ will have long, exposed, silvery gray
branches that curve and add character and interest while its long needles
add softness as they sway like fine textured blades of grass in the
summer breeze.

Pinus strobus 'Pendula'
Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’ with growth three times as long as ‘Niagara Falls’ will often expose its silvery gray bare branches

With its slower growth, ‘Niagara Falls’ will appear to be a more fully
clothed plant with a similar but different effect in the garden. The shorter
annual growth allows its foliage to more effectively cover its branches as it
(again depending on culture) will mound and sprawl, occasionally sending
up a dominant leader which eventually flops over and continues to build its
unique character. The denseness of the foliage gives ‘Niagara Falls’ a
more coarse and full appearance, when compared with ‘Pendula’, and as
it sprawls in the garden amongst the rockery or over a wall, it surely does
bring to mind the grand waterfall of its namesake.

Pinus strobus 'Niagara Falls'
A young ‘Niagara Falls’ begins to show some character.

In smaller gardens, where space is limited, ‘Niagara Falls’ could be a very
desirable alternative to the larger, more open growing ‘Pendula’. In
gardens with plenty of space, I would definitely grow both of these
excellent forms of the weeping white pine to enjoy their unique
contributions to the landscape.