Garden Clippings for December 15, 2018
For some unexplainable reason, everybody likes the look of a Weeping False Cypress. Well, almost.
Weeping False Cypress has limbs that droop so sadly that they are apt to put you in a sombre mood. All other, more normal conifers stand upright and display confidence and vitality. But Weeping False Cypress defies the odds with its own style and personality. I suppose that’s why people like them.
Weeping False Cypress is among a myriad of conifers that have been concocted in a lab. Within the horticulture industry plant breeders are constantly on the hunt for new varieties with unique features. As a result, we have oodles of conifers that are skinny, weeping, short, dark, yellow, blue, round, or any combination of the above.
Truth is, in Canada we only have a handful of truly native conifers that have grown on their own, without interference from horticulturists. White Pine, White Cedar, White Spruce, Balsam Fir, Eastern Red Cedar and Red Pine are among the few that are indigenous to Ontario. The many varieties of Yews, Boxwood, Juniper, Cypress and Spruce that we use in our home landscapes are in large part spin-offs of the original native plants or have been imported from across the ocean.
Weeping False Cypress grows tall, reaching about 10 to 15 metres with width of nearly 5 metres. They are often planted in clusters of 3, because when solo, they might appear too lanky or Charlie Brown in appearance. Weeping False Cypress wants to grow in full sun, in soil that is well drained. Avoid planting too deep or in heavy clay soil.
Yews and Boxwood are staples in the home garden. it would be rare for me to design a home landscape without these versatile evergreens. Hicks Yew grows tallish and dense, making it ideal for a hedge. Fairview and Dense Yew are compact growers, perfect for low foundation plantings. Emerald Spreader Yew grows slowly, rarely growing more than half a metre of height.
The family of Boxwood is a well-behaved group of plants that remain tidy and are easy to prune into a low hedge or mounded individual plant. Green Mound Boxwood has strong dark green colour and grows to become a mound that is slightly higher than wide. Green Mountain Boxwood is similar, but with a pointed conical shape. Both Boxwood and Yews grow equally well in shade or sun.
Pines have expanded into so many varieties that no one can keep track of. Weeping White Pine is quite sizable with swooping pendulous branches growing eerily similar to Weeping False Cypress. Mugho Pine is popular because of its low and compact growth habit. Prune it lightly each spring and you will have a wonderful dwarf mounded evergreen.
Bird’s Nest Spruce is another favorite for foundation plantings because of its slow growth, bright green spring growth in and compact, tidy shape. Weeping White Spruce is a tall, narrow grower with unique weeping limbs. Weeping Norway Spruce is one of my favorites. Once it achieves maturity it spreads its limbs over the ground with magnificent form.