beloved conifers: weeping alaska cedar
AS MANY BEGINNERS DO, I CREATED MY GARDEN BACKWARDS: planting herbaceous things first and trees and shrubs later, when their different time to maturity would have made the opposite strategy smarter. Worst of all, I forgot conifers almost entirely in those first years. I’ve stayed put long enough to outgrow my early mishaps, and have some favorite evergreens to share including the weeping Alaska Cedar cedar, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ (above, in my far borders to the west of the house). The first in a series on beloved conifers.
Two weeping Alaska cedars grow here now, the first a 40th birthday present from my garden mentor; the other (shown) a few years younger. Each one is about 20 feet; though they are said to reach 60 or even 90 feet in the wild (Alaska to Oregon), half that is the expectation in cultivation. A Zone 4-7 or 8 creature, it’s happy here because I have the moisture it craves. It has become somewhat popular (though not commonplace) in the Northeast in recent years.
Speaking of moisture: What distinguishes Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ from other conifers is that it seems to drip. Despite a vertical trunk, its pendulous branches are made even further fluid-seeming by the way the rich green foliage positively hangs from them (above).
There isn’t a time of year when I don’t love this conifer…well, perhaps just on my mowing days each week in summer, when its shaggy built-in tree skirt requires special treatment to get around and up under. Not much of it to ask, really, for such persistent, year-round grace.