The Persistence of Greenery

This is really just a post to talk about how much I love this particular plant. It’s a Dwarf Swamp Cypress, a Taxodium distichum variety from Holland called Peve Minaret, that only grows to about 10 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide, so they say on the tag and on websites. It could get bigger I suppose and it’s growing at a fair pace of about a foot a year for the past 2 1/2 years so far. It’s about 6ft tall now. I planted it in the wettest section of the garden. That’s its feet you see in the Living in a Peat Bog post on here. It’s so wet there that there’s literally standing water whenever we get a good rain and I’ve lost a nice Japanese Maple “Bloodgood”, a “Charity” Mahonia and almost lost a beautiful Enkianthus campanulatus Siko Kianus that has fortunately come back after much pruning and tender loving care and planting in a drier spot.

I did a lot of research before I bought this little beauty and tried especially to find a conifer that would grow in this wet spot. I found few of them that weren’t huge trees and I really don’t have room for them. I needed a dwarf and I found it in this specimen. It’s a conifer that is unusual because it’s one of only about 3 I know of that are deciduous, unless you count the Ginkgo and there’s some debate about whether it’s really a conifer going on now so I won’t include it at this point, tho I have a dwarf one and would love to include it as another one in my collection. It does lose it’s leaves and right now as you’re seeing it it’s still holding on late into November when most things have dropped all their leaves here, except for the Liquidambers which amaze me with how long they stay in leaf. But this one not only stays in leaf it stays Green for so long it stuns me. It’s still so soft and “petttable”. I chose it as one of my Faves on my website if you care to look at it and read about it some more. In fact I encourage you to look at the website attached to these blogs. It’ll give you a bigger picture of what I’m working with in writing them. OK, enough self promotion for the moment.

I read that sometimes these things will actually put on the knees that it’s larger cousins in the swamps put on to get air into the roots and to stay upright in the water. I’m looking forward to the day that the lawn mower catches a knee coming up so we have to start mowing around it. That’d be so cool I think. Anyway I’m so amazed that this tree is still green after so long. But it’s a trade off because it comes into leaf so very late and takes forever to leaf out fully and then to start to grow. It starts at the bottom and works it’s way up and it may not have leaves on it till June. That’s late for here. But it’s all worth it to watch it develop its central leader amidst the number of tops it’s put on. It’s still tying to do that and I’ll let it do its thing as I don’t think it’s safe to prune it as some people do. I don’t  believe in topping trees as a rule and that feels too much like that to me so I let it determine its course of growth. I think it knows best how to grow itself into a fine specimen, just like People do…..

I’m just so enamored of it I want the world to know so I gave it its own post. I’ll be doing more of that with some of my favorite plants as time goes on tho as I say several are on the Faves page in the website. I have too many favorites to really choose only a few to highlight but I tried my best. I might mention that in addition to this one I also have a Metasequoia glyptostroboides “Miss Grace” a cultivar of the  Dawn Redwood, another deciduous conifer. The other one is the Larch that occurs in places in the high western mountains in the US, in Asia and in Europe. Different species but the same genus, Larix. They’re stunning to see here in Washington where I live and I love driving across the passes in the fall to see them in their bright yellow glory against the darker evergreens. Unfortunately this Taxiodium turns a drab brown when it turns colors and isn’t too exciting but I still love it. The Dawn Redwood turns a deep orange and I have a picture of it on the Faves page in color.

If you have a favorite plant that keeps its leaves a long time please do let me know about it. I love things that defy the conventional wisdom of the fall and outlive their usual appointed time to die on us. It gives us a lingering sense of how the garden looked like in its hey days and that’s a nice thing for the plants to do for us. They help us remember before it all goes away for the winter and all we see are bare stems. That’s when the real persistence of greenery comes out with the true evergreen confers and I have a bunch of them. The may be mostly dwarf plants but they still give the feel of a small forest on this small lot and in this little garden. It doesn’t take much for me to be able to imagine what the parent tree must look like in its glory and I do have a couple of full sized conifers that are gonna get big so I’ll have them to look at in the depths of winter. And the shrubs too of course. And that’s enough for now.

Staying green,

Steve

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