As I watch the wintery mix fall outside my window, I think of those of us who long for spring and sunshine. No need to become a snowbird though or to raid your cabinets searching for Vitamin D supplements. The winter blues can be something to look forward to, especially in the case of blue-green needled conifers.
Two of my favorites are Chamaecyparis nootkatensis‘Pendula’ (Weeping Alaska-cedar) and Abies concolor (Concolor or White Fir).
Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ is an evergreen that grows 20 to 35 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide. The Weeping Alaska-cedar is a standout in any garden, large or small and a perfect specimen tree for an East Coast garden. Your garden visitors will certainly be asking you “What is that tree?” I remember seeing it for the first time in a container outside the conservatory at Longwood Gardens. I had plant envy for sure. This Chamaecyparis grows best in average, well-drained soils, in full sun or partial shade. As a native tree to the Pacific Northwest, it’s even fond of moisture and humidity! The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society recognized Weeping Alaska-cedar as one of its Gold Medal Plants for 2015, confirming its exceptional merit.
|Weeping Alaska Cedar|
Abies concolor, is native to the mountains of western North America. It is a medium to large evergreen tree growing to over 50 feet tall. As an ornamental landscaping tree, it features soft blue-gray needles. Some claim the upright needles smell like oranges when crushed, which makes it not only a nice specimen tree, but also a desirable Christmas tree. If you have the space, a Concolor fir will make a strong statement in your landscape.
While Weeping Alaska-cedar and Concolor fir are among my favorite blue characters for winter; let me know yours by posting a comment. And remember, the next time you are driving home from work in the dark or bundling up to protect yourself from pelting ice or snow, don’t despair – the cure for the winter blues is just a garden away!
Carol, Thanks for giving us a silver lining to our Pennsylvania winter. In my years in Minnesota I spent many weeks portaging up in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and always loved the occasional "lob pine" I would see, standing as a landmark and guide marker for the portage trail that led from one lake to another. These tall white pines were stripped of their lower hanging branches by the early voyagers and were easily visible from various points on the lake to aid in navigation. They were striking reminders of the long history of man's interaction with wilderness. Here is a URL to one picture of a "lob pine".
I am sad to say that there are few left these days in the BWCA.
Thanks for sharing your story John and especially the picture. I'm sorry to hear that there aren't may lob pines left to guide visitors and remind them of our history. I think conifers are so striking in the landscape, particularly in the winter…perhaps more can be planted in Minnesota for the younger generations to appreciate!