WITH THE FIRST SNOW FORECAST, and juncos and other winter birds showing up in fast-increasing numbers, my thoughts (and theirs) these colder, windy days are turning to the importance of conifers. There are no better woody plants to tuck into if you’re a bird, and no more beautiful ones to look out at when you’re tucked inside if you’re a gardener. Doesn’t that branch of the weeping Alaska cedar (above, last winter) look like a drapey shawl? Another look at some of my favorites, after a quick tip about browning needles:
As I mentioned in October’s garden chores, it’s disconcerting when suddenly all your evergreens looks like they’re turning brown from the inside out (like the golden hinoki cypress, above). As long as what’s dead is on the inner portion of the branches or twigs, it’s simply the normal shedding of the oldest foliage, which lasts several years then fades in fall. If it’s unsightly, I rub the dead bits off with a gentle pass of my hand, or just wait until nature does the job.
Favorite Coniferous Trees
(click any green type to link to the profile of that plant)
Golden hinoki cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crippsii’
Japanese umbrella pine, Sciadopitys verticillata
Concolor fir, Abies concolor
Weeping Alaska cedar, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Korean fir, Abies koreana
Lacebark pine, Pinus bungeana
Favorite Coniferous Shrubs
Russian arborvitae, Microbiota decussata
Golden spreading yew, Taxus baccata ‘Repandens Aurea’
Dwarf white pine, Pinus strobus ‘Nana’
If you missed it earlier this year, tour the above favorites and more in my slideshow of favorites conifers.