SUNKIST ARBORVITAE: Probably the most stunning plant on my grounds is the 20 foot Sunkist Arborvitae in my front grounds. Its form, bright gold color, and size dominate the scene as I or anyone drives to my house located at the end of a cul-de-sac.
Although its size impresses the viewer in winter, from late February to December it is brilliant yellow of the new foliage which makes this huge form so noticed and so beautiful.
Its size is especially surprising since when I was planting it with my back and shovel, the tag attached to it declared its maximum size as “up to eight feet”.
It is still climbing high into the sky
PAPERBARK MAPLE: About six years ago I was reading an article by Michael Dirr, a tree specialist, who was complaining about the absence in the general northern landscapes of one of his favorite mid-story trees, Acer griseum, the Paperbark Maple.
He claimed this maple should survive handsomely in zone 5 depsite its universally announced ranking to zone 5 the coldest. Mr. Dirr raved about the tree’s beautiful chestnut-brown exfoliating bark, its neatly formed crown, and red fall color.
I had to try it, for I still had a number of sunny placed on the grounds at that time. I bought three.
All have survived and have grown two or more feet each year. Michael Dirr’s ravings about the tree are entirely correct even though the red fall leaf color doesn’t show up when the cold wintery weather arrives early or the tree is growing in deep shade.
The bark is exceptionally beautiful when it is back lit, that is when the sun is to the East, South, or West of where you observed the tree most frequently.
It is a very neat, clean midsized tree……among the best.
EMERALD GREEN ARBORVITAE: Frank’s Nursery, no longer existing, used to peddle this shiny leafed pyramidal conifer in small sixes for a coupe dollars apiece about 20 years ago. I bit and bought one about a foot high in a very small pot. For more then a dozen years the tree showed up on all the local nursery sales listings until it got a reputation of being fussy…..winterburning, and weak standing in a winter storm. I decided not to buy another one for myself and for any of my clients, for I felt I couldn’t trust the tree to survive. It became just another pyramidal arborvitae whose figure would become distorted with each or our warmer winter seasons here in the Northland.
I’d walk by my Emerald green arb many times a day and never noticed it until it suddenly was about ten years old and ten feet tall with shiny green foliage, stately shape, and undisturbed by winter weather or any other weather. I have come to adore its prideful stance which ables it to look down on all aroud it……with its unique green (emerald) sheen.
Emerald green arborvitae then was dropped from the Twin City listings of wholesale nursery offerings for several years…..until this season I found them sold at Home Depot whose nursery folks are likely far too unaware to know the plant’s shortcomings.
Good, because I have bought about a dozen of them, I have grown to like this arborvitae so much.
RED OBELISK BEECH: This beech is from the genus Fagus…..a genus which cannot abide our Minnesota winter assaults. Nevertheless, a few years ago rather late in the season Bachman’s was offering a Red Obelisk Beech at a discount price. No one among the wholesale staff knew much about this Beech, whether it was hardy or not, but they pointed out its attractive maroon foliage. I suckered into the purchase.
Three years later I have added two more of these dark purplish maroon foliaged pyramidal beech….all are doing very well as if they were meant for our winter miseries. Thus far it has survived untouched by deer. They also show good autumn color.
CHAMAECYPARIS PISIFERA FILIFERA AUREA: The most shocking plant on my grounds is a golden Chamaecyparis, Chamaecyparis pisifer Filifera Aurea. I have two of them, both around 20 feet tall.
It is the golden color even in winter, and the twenty feet of height which make this Chamaecyparis shocking.
My family moved into our residence where I landscape garden in January, 1974. Mary Alice Simmonds a very good friend of ours gave us two of these Chamaecyparis which she had bought from White Flower Farms in Connecticut. They arrived in size one corregated cardboard pots, no bigger than my clenched fist.
Today, ever golden in the winter, they stand more than 20 feet high rising above the roof of my double garage.
Your King’s Gold Chamaecyparis marked to grow five feet tall will be in a race growing just short of the twenty two feet if you let it.