Last Trip to the Tree Store

June 26th, 2015

For Father’s Day I took the family to the tree store here, probably for the last time, since we’re moving next month. In Chattanooga, where we are moving, I’m sure there are nurseries with a large variety of stock, but I haven’t found them yet, and I didn’t want to risk moving there and not having access to a few key trees I definitely wanted in my landscape, so, I bought them now.

The first I absolutely had to have is pinus contorta ‘Taylor’s Sunburst.’ I’ve blogged about this tree several times before, it is one of my favorites. It is a lodgepole pine that grows slowly and that has candles (the new spring growth) of bright banana yellow, constrasting with the green mature needles. I also, just generally, like the overall growth habit of lodgepole pines vs. something like the eastern white pine. I knew I could buy this tree online, but it’d be a small sample not very tall at all, if I wanted one big enough to make a statement I would have to find it from a nursery, and the ones I called in Chattanooga had never heard of it.

Cedrus deodara 'Karl Fuchs' and Pinus contorta 'Taylor's Sunburst'

Cedrus deodara ‘Karl Fuchs’ and Pinus contorta ‘Taylor’s Sunburst’

The second is cedrus deodara ‘Karl Fuchs’ which is this nice stately true cedar tree. Cedrus atlantica is sold all over the south, often in weeping form, and they’re beautiful and I want one of those. But cedrus deodara grows upright and straight with sparse very architectural sort of limbs, almost like a work of sculpture. Unlike most evergreens it never really “fills in” with needles, the branches are wide spaces without a lot of secondary or tertiary branches that the shape of the growth of the tree is very evident and able to be appreciated (though, maybe you have to be a tree nerd to do so). I had again called places and they didn’t have it, but the new house I’m building will have a circular drive right in the front, and as a center piece of that circular garden I’ve known for awhile I wanted this tree. It will be quite striking when it fills in, and I plan to put multiple colored shrubs (red and golden barberries) around the base of it, so it will be a little multicolor circular garden featuring yellow, red, and blue foliage (but no green!)

Then I also wanted metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’ also known as dawn redwood, or dinosaur tree. Once thought to be extinct, a few were found growing in a valley in China not that long ago. Gold Rush is a cultivar with bright golden foliage. Similar to bald cypress these trees get really complex and beautiful trunks, one of my favorite features. Overall I am very partial to deciduous conifers like this (conifer trees that lose their needles each winter), bald cypress, larch, etc. I guess I just like short needle conifers as they all tend to have short feathery needles. Again I phoned and emailed nurseries, it looks like the species metasequoia are available, but not ‘gold rush’ and I wanted ‘gold rush’ so I bought two. ‘Gold rush’ does not grow as large as the species variety, but that bright golden foliage that doesn’t fade in the sun is hard to beat. People love large trees with bright foliage in the fall, this one gets it all growing season long.

Two Metasequoia 'Gold Rush'

Two Metasequoia ‘Gold Rush’

I also came home with two trees I did not expect to buy. The first is a standard form hinoki cypress. I don’t know why, but hinoki cypress always appeals to me more than other chamaecyparis or related arborvitaes, the orientation or twist of the foliage I think. In anycase, I saw a very very nice topiary hinoki cypress that I think had to have been grafted, where they got this big old tree, and grafted tufts of dwarf hinoki on it, then cut off the rest, it was gorgeous, but pricey and I was running out of room regardless. I also saw a very nice “top and flop” double graft with the upright dwarf hinoki grafted on top and a weeping gold variety of chamaecyparis or something similar grafted below. This again I did not buy, running short on room. I did settle on a cheaper and smaller standard form hinoki cypress just an impulse buy.

Finally I picked up Abies koreana ‘Kahout’s Icebreaker.’ This is a very new plant discovered as a sport in a nursery in Germany and is only a handful of years old. It was also the American Conifer Society conifer of the year in 2014. So it is a Korean Fir, dwarf, slow growing, that has these sort of curled in needles, the needles are green on top, but typical growth habit has the needles turned in so only their silver blue undersides are shown, in little curled tips like, I just keep thinking of rabbit feet. In my picture you can see the old green lower growth from the host plant (it is a graft) left on to feed it, that I can prune off now. It was small, and inexpensive, my daughter named it “Elsa.”

Abies koreana 'Kahouts Icebreaker'

Abies koreana ‘Kahouts Icebreaker’

We completely filled the truck on the way home, and though I wish I could have bought more (it is a huge nursery, the biggest in the midwest I’m told, and I’d love to just be able to say “one of everything please”), I wouldn’t have had any room.

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