Thursday, May 28, 2020

Leaves of Gold

Tilia cordata 'Akira's Gold'

Buchholz and Akira Shibamichi
Last November I was in Japan visiting plantsman Akira Shibamichi...finally, after a hiatus of 16 years. He appeared sharp and energetic and remained about the same age as before, while I had gone shiro (white: on the top lettuce). He pointed out this plant here and that plant there, here and there, on and on. One I vaguely remember was a golden lime, Tilia cordata (heart-shaped), but it was mostly bare of leaves at that late date. After I returned home I noticed on MrMaple's website that they featured a Tilia cordata 'Akira's Gold', and I was quite surprised that it was already named and actually in America besides. Really, you should subscribe to MrMaple website's plant notifications, and even if you don't buy anything – a shame if you don't – you can still glean plant information, often accompanied by the origin of the cultivars they peddle. Anyway, the Nichols brothers sent a vigorous, large start of 'Akira's Gold' which has now leafed out in a container in my greenhouse, and I'll be sure to find a place to ground it in the Flora Wonder Arboretum this fall.

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Golden Treasure'

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Gold Beacon'

Another gold-leaved special is for a “Sweet Gum,” Liquidambar styraciflua 'Golden Treasure'. The leaf is mostly colored yellow but a small, important amount of green remains in the leaf center, enough to keep the golden portion from sun scald. Also the starry, maple-like leaf is more exciting with the variegation rather than just being totally, boringly yellow. The genus name is derived from Latin liquidus meaning “liquid” and ambar meaning “amber” due to the sap's color. The gum is commerced for a number of uses, ranging from perfume to chewing gum to folk medicines. In the past we have also grown L.s. 'Gold Beacon' – which it truly is – but still I prefer the 'Golden Treasure' which is more adventuresome.

Acer platanoides 'Princeton Gold'

Acer platanoides 'Princeton Gold'

Acer platanoides 'Princeton Gold'

Acer platanoides 'Princeton Gold'

Last night I was out in the arboretum, just wandering from tree to tree, enjoying the glimmer that the setting sun bestowed upon the wind-dancing leaves. They were brilliantly aflutter, and it was especially the case with Acer platanoides 'Princeton Gold'. I give this selection an A+ rating for being attractive throughout the growing season, and for the fact that the strongly gold-colored leaves do not scorch at all in our fierce (up to 108 degree F) humidless-summer temperature. I remember back to the previous spring when I was impressed with how the golden, emerging leaves were delightfully complemented with attached red petioles. This is a very worthy introduction, but other than my one arboretum specimen I don't propagate or distribute 'P.G.' since it is a patented clone, and what a stupid shame that with that legalese restriction it cannot become more widely available.

Acer buergerianum 'Michael Steinhardt'

Acer buergerianum 'Michael Steinhardt'

Mr. and Mrs. Steinhardt
One can easily grow enamored with Acer buergerianum 'Michael Steinhardt', a golden selection of the “Trident maple,” from a species native to Japan. The plant was introduced by Don Shadow of Tennessee, USA, and the luscious burn-free yellow leaves of spring become somewhat orange by mid-summer. Photo (above) shows that the original discovery will grow with a broadly oval crown, but at the small-to-10' size that we sell, they are somewhat willowy, so perhaps we should prune even more than now. M. Steinhardt, honoree of the cultivar name, is the successful New York City financier who owns a Mt. Kisco arboretum and zoo (Iroki), and his grounds are graced with many of my plants – maples especially – which often include the largest-of-its-kind in the world, and in quite a few cases, the original tree itself. I figure that I can both make money off of Iroki, and also better insure the historical integrity of the special trees themselves...since they are probably more secure at their new, well-endowed Mt. Kisco location than remaining under the tenuous ownership of Buchholz himself.

Acer longipes 'Gold Coin'

Acer longipes 'Gold Coin' has entered into the FW arboretum thanks to the long-time maple grower from Oregon, Carl Munn. Actually it should be named A. l. subsp. amplum – from Latin ampulus, meaning “numerous,” but nothing in the literature adequately explains what is so “ample”: the flowers ,seed, leaves, or just what? Anyway it is a Chinese endemic that's in the platanoides section and was introduced to cultivation by E. H. Wilson during one of his forays into China in the early 1900's. 'Gold Coin' is a small-to-medium size tree with reddish young new growth that turns to a strong golden yellow, then eventually evolves to green on the older branches. All of that is followed by a clean whitish-yellow in autumn. This special golden selection was introduced by the well-known maple veterans at Esveld Nursery in Boskoop, The Netherlands in the 1980's, and its paucity in the trade is said to be due to the difficulty with propagation, but...but I don't know about any of that from personal experience. The longipes specific epithet refers to the leaf's elongated, pointed lobes.

Acer macrophyllum 'Golden Riddle'

I have a golden specimen of the “Oregon Big-Leaf maple,” Acer macrophyllum 'Golden Riddle'; but if you acquire one give it a lot of space, and probably you should plant it with PM shade as well. I planted one out in full sun about three years ago, and it did burn for its few outdoor years, but often the scorch problem will dissipate with time, but maybe not. You can solve the scorch by planting in shade, and while that will produce just lime-green leaves, they will be quite attractive anyway. The A. macrophyllum species is the largest member of the Sapindaceae family and features leaves up to 24” across. While Native Americans used the maple's wood for canoe paddles, it has also been used in modern times for furniture, firewood, salad bowls and guitar bodies...and if you have plenty of time on your hands you can use it to make maple syrup.

Acer maximowiczianum 'Metallic Gold'

Carl Maximowicz
I've seen Acer maximowiczianum 'Metallic Gold' only once in my life and that was in a Japanese collection near Tokyo. I liked that the leaves were not completely gold, but rather the green trifoliate foliage had a light blush of gold, and like with the Liquidambar (above), that was more interesting than if it was solid gold. Alas, it was 16 years ago that I saw 'Metallic Gold' and I've dropped hints ever since that I sure would like to acquire it, but have yet to score one. I remember the Japanese specimen was short and not particularly old, but it was bushy with strong, stout stems and it glowed in the pre-evening light. Acer maximowiczianum is the “Nikko maple” and indeed I saw a few huge specimens in Nikko at the University of Tokyo's distant arboretum. A synonym for the species is Acer nikkoense but you'll also find it ranging into China too. The specific epithet honors Carl Johann Maximowicz (1827-1891) who discovered it in Japan in the 1860's. Unfortunately botanists got carried away, quite ridiculous actually, for there also exists an Acer maximowiczii, a snakebark with simple leaves and striped bark – very different than A. maximowiczianum. The maximowiczii is native to China only, and some botanists now consider it as a subspecies of Acer pectinatum, and some insist that pectinatum consists of four additional subspecies. I've learned to steer clear of contending botanists with their nomenclatural obsessions, and I tend to classify the species differently, as in: can I make money off of them? Also, if not grown from seed, what rootstock does one choose to graft them upon?

Cercis canadensis 'Hearts of Gold'

There are a number of Cercis canadensis (“Redbud”) cultivars with leaves of gold. 'Hearts of Gold' is a worthy selection and can be grown in full sun. The dubious California Monrovia Nursery Company claims that it is “The first known gold-foliage Cercis!” Apparently the “craftsmen” – their name for their employees – had never heard of 'Aurea' which was selected much earlier. 'Hearts of Gold' was discovered in a private garden in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2002, and was first produced at Hidden Hollow Nursery in a...”hidden area” outside of Belvidere, Tennessee. The Neubauers of Hidden Hollow grow shade trees – I visited about six years ago – and their quality product means I don't have to mess around with patent issues, and wholesale growers like myself can buy a well-sized tree at an affordable price.

Cercis canadensis 'Hearts of Gold'

I think that the beautiful golden foliage of 'Hearts of Gold' would be incentive enough to place it in the garden, but the grower is also rewarded with lavender-purple flowers – individually small but impressive en masse – which occur before the golden leaves emerge...a spectacular double delight. Cercis canadensis is the state tree of Oklahoma and it is native from Ontario, Canada all the way down to northern Florida and even into Mexico. And, if you're so inclined, the flowers can be eaten both fresh or fried, as native Americans did. They [the Natives] were probably just hungry, but later research indicates that the flower extract contains anthocyanins, the green developing seeds contain proanthocyanidin and that linolenic, alpha-linolenic, oleic and palmitic acids are present in seeds. I'm too cautious to try any of that, so I just enjoy the Cercis genus for its flowers and foliage.

Choisya ternata 'Gold Fingers'

Catt's Cat

I visited the fascinating English plantsman, Peter Catt, sixteen years ago at his nursery in southern England. He produced Japanese maples and had even visited my nursery once. He is perhaps best known for his introduction of the “Mexican orange,” Choisya ternata 'Lich' – for his Liss Forest Nursery – which is brilliantly marketed as 'Sundance'. The orange's foliage ranges in color from chartreuse to golden yellow, on a manageable bush, and also a gift to the gardener are clusters of sweetly fragrant white flowers. Some growers insist that, when crushed, the flowers emit the distinctive smell of basil. I should confess that I've never grown Catt's 'Sundance' as I'm not really into that type of “Mediterranean” shrubbery, but I did fall for its relative 'Goldfingers' because I liked the skinny lobes, for I have always been a fan of the skinny. His discovery/selection is patented, and we both carefully danced around that issue – I being against the practice in general, but he revealed that the royalties actually brought him more income than did his other plant I have to admit to being somewhat jealous. Wife Haruko was with me at the time, and actually pregnant with daughter Harumi, but neither of us knew about it at the time. Peter treated us to lunch at a nearby pub, and Haruko recalls that the energetic old white-haired Englishman zipped through the narrow streets in his sporty car way-too-fast and also on the wrong side of the road. Poor Haruko had to endure the wild speed with her babe-in-the-oven, and I was somewhat unnerved as well. My most fond memory of Peter Catt – and by the way, shouldn't there be a nursery rhyme? – was that he was accompanied by his pet cat – Catt's cat – as we walked through the nursery, and when the orange feline plopped upon some containers of Hakonechloa, smashing the blades, he didn't scold or chase away the critter at all, instead he smiled at her with a somewhat bittersweet look. I found out later that Peter's wife had recently passed away.

Rubus spectabilis 'Golden Ruby'

Rubus spectabilis 'Golden Ruby'

Rubus spectabilis 'Golden Ruby'

Rubus spectabilis is a deciduous shrub native to the west coast of North America. In the Rosaceae family, the edible fruits ripen to an orange-pink color which explains its common name of “Salmonberry,” but if not harvested they will eventually evolve to a red color. Rubus is derived from ruber, a Latin word for “red” while the specific epithet spectabilis means “spectacular,” although I can't discern anything particularly spectacular about the weedy bramble at all. I have planted a golden form, 'Golden Ruby', down by my southern creek where it is perfectly at home in the shade of alder trees. “Ruby” in the name describes the flower color, which contrasts effectively agains the golden leaves, but again I wouldn't describe any of it as “spectacular.” The fruit appears like a raspberry, but most find the taste insipid, but nevertheless when you are in the woods they are free. It has escaped cultivation and can now be found growing wild in England and Ireland, and what do you know, the fruit has been used to flavor vodka – a combination which seems absolutely horrible to me.

Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold'

Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold'

I was gifted a Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' but the cultivar is not a plant I would have ever purchased myself. I described the comfrey early-on for my website as a “Dramatic perennial with large hairy leaves. Green foliage is variegated with gold patches, about half-and-half. Cannot be overlooked in the garden.” Well, with that description I forced myself into enthusiasm, but after a couple of years all the leaves reverted to totally green. I keep it in the garden anyway, planted next to my boring garage, but last week I did go out with camera to document the demure light-blue flowers. Symphytum is a genus in the borage fmaily, Boraginaceae, and x uplandicum (S. asperum x S. officinale) is a Russian comfrey, a healing herb, a “bruisewort,” “blackword” or “wallwort,” and in folk medicine the comfrey is known as “knitbone” and “boneset.” The Latin name Symphytum is derived from Greek symphis meaning “growing together of the bones,” and phyton for “a plant.” Axminster is a town in Devon, England, which was built on a hill overlooking the River Axe which heads to the English Channel at Axmouth. To me, far more interesting than the damn comfrey, is that Axminster dates back to the Celtic time of around 300 BC, and that there was a Roman fort just south of the present town. It was recorded as Ascanmynster in the 9th century and the name means “monastery or large church by the River Axe.”
Fraxinus excelsior 'Aurea Pendula'

Golden-leaved plants may contain Gold in the cultivar name, but often too the Latin designation is Aurea, or Aureum. Along a canal at Arboretum Trompenburg in Rotterdam is an imposing specimen of Fraxinus excelsior 'Aurea Pendula'. The species is the “common ash” of Britain, and from Europe to the Caucasus, but one that I have never grown. I remember spotting 'Aurea Pendula' from a distance in the foggy gloom, and with every step that took me closer I became more and more uncertain about what I was seeing. Fortunately it was firmly labeled, otherwise I might not have guessed it to be an ash. In the Hillier Manual it is described as “A small tree of rather weak constitution...” but the Trompenburg tree looked solid to me. Fraxinus is in the Oleaceae family along with about 700 other members such as lilacs, olives, forsythia and privet. The generic name originated in Latin from a Proto-Indo-European root for “birch,” which also was used to mean “spear.” The city of Fresno in California is one of the worst hell-holes in America, but it was named for its abundance of white ash trees (Spanish: fresno) along the banks of the San Joaquin River. For what it's worth, the Fresno Municipal Landfill was the first modern landfill in America. It was closed in 1987 because it became too full of the overwhelmingly abundant garbage.

Fagus sylvatica 'Aurea Pendula' in the Display Garden

The last tree that I'll discuss is Fagus sylvatica 'Aurea Pendula', probably my favorite tree in the May garden. My largest specimen happily thrives down by the southern creek where it receives shade from the wooded hillside. It is nearly 40' tall, my start coming at the beginning of my career from the late Howard Hughes – no, not the movie mogul! – a plantsman from Washington state. If a tree could have a “human” form, a woman's body easily can be imagined with the 'Aurea Pendula' in the original Display Garden. It is not as old as the creekside tree but it has a very lovely shape. On one spring evening, walking out into the garden just before dark, I detected some movement. 'Aurea Pendula' had hurried back to her place and stood in the first position until I passed. I hid behind a pine and waited, and sure enough she resumed her dance throughout the garden. What a prima ballerina!, cavorting with all of the other trees which stood mesmerized by her graceful movement.

Creekside specimen of Fagus sylvatica 'Aurea Pendula'

Friday, May 22, 2020

Plump Pyramids

Abies procera 'Glauca Prostrata' – oops!

The Flora Wonder Arboretum is filled with plump, pyramidally-shaped plants, especially with the coniferous species. So often the “dwarves,” which are touted as miniature garden denizens, actually grow quite large – at least for this old nurseryman – and a plant that is/was initially described as dwarf, or globose or spreading can with age assume a plump pyramidal form. Don't be fooled with the cultivarious monikers of 'Nana', 'Pygmaea' (Pygmy), 'Gnome', 'Midget', 'Munchkin', 'Minima', 'Spreader', 'Prostrate' etc...for they can all grow into strong, upright specimens.

Picea omorika 'Nana'

In spite of that, some conifers are “relatively” true-to-form, and they bless our gardens with a year-round structural presence. For example I have a glittery dense pyramid – Picea omorika 'Nana' – that was for years a dwarf round ball; but now, after nearly half a century, it's currently a 15' tall fat pyramid that has unfortunately created a water-shadow problem with the nearest irrigation sprinkler. The specific epithet of omorika is the Serbian name for “spruce,” while the generic name of picea is Latin for “pitch” for the resin in the bark. Despite the species origin in southeastern Europe, the cultivar 'Nana' originated as a witch's broom found about 1930 in Boskoop, The Netherlands.

Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader'

My oldest specimen of Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader' used to have a low spreading form, but eventually – with no help from me – it developed an upright pyramidal shape and is already 10' tall. It is growing in the rock garden in full sun and has never burned, even though some experts claim it requires afternoon shade to prevent sunscorch. 'Golden Spreader' is particularly effective in the winter garden as it emits a warm golden glow even on cloudy days. The nordmann species, or “Caucasian fir,” was discovered by Alexander von Nordmann (1803-1866) and was introduced into western Europe in 1838. It is grown by the thousands in Oregon as a Christmas tree as it is relatively fast growing for a true fir, and also because it retains its needles for a long period. Rushforth in Conifers claims that silver firs “will keep them [the needles] four to five years, but I [Rushforth] have counted live needles 26 years old on Caucasian fir.” I'm impressed with such committed long-term observation.

Pinus cembra 'Blue Mound'

Long ago, if I remember correctly, a conifer aficionado from Washington state called to chat about Pinus cembra 'Blue Mound', and I think he implied that it was his dwarf discovery. I never saw the original, but I'm sure it was appropriately named: for a miniature blue mound. But as I frequently admonish, you can't expect the propagules to appear the same as the original seedling because they are grafted onto vigorous rootstock, probably Pinus strobus, so all of my 'Blue Mound' specimens have grown into plump pyramids. I've even seen 10' tall trees at another nursery where candle pruning probably does not occur. Linnaeus coined the specific epithet cembra which was named for a commune in Trentino in northern Italy with a population of about 2,000 (pre-covid) souls. The common name for P. cembra is “Arolla pine,” and that's for a village in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. In The Garden (1904) it states: “The Arolla is an Asiatic tree brought to us during the glacial epoch that reigned throughout Europe for hundreds of millions of years. Its place of origin is probably northeastern Siberia where it is quite at home, forming immense forests...,” and indeed we used to grow P. cembra var. siberica. I have a number of P. cembra cultivars but I've never seen the species in the wild, but apparently Hillier has, and in his Manual of Trees and Shrubs (2014) it states that it is “An ornamental tree of almost formal aspect which has distinct landscape possibilities.”

Pinus bungeana 'Temple Gem'

Pinus bungeana 'Temple Gem' 

Pinus bungeana 'Temple Gem' is an early Buchholz introduction, discovered as a seedling growing at about one-fourth the rate of the type. I named it 'Temple Gem' because the northeast Chinese species was first seen by Dr. Bunge in a temple garden near Beijing in 1831. It was introduced to horticulture in 1846 by Robert Fortune, the Scottish botanist and plant explorer, more infamously known – from a Sino point of view – as the thief of tea plants (Camellia sinensis) and tea processing information from the Chinese. I used to grow a lot of conifer species from seed and I estimate that the original 'Temple Gem' is about 35 years old and is now a broad 14' pyramid. I remember about five years ago sitting down to rest on a bench at the University of Tennessee Arboretum. The bench was in front of a bushy form of Pinus bungeana, and I eventually got up to find an identification label. To my utter surprise it was 'Temple Gem', but I know that I didn't send it to them and I don't know who did; nevertheless the find invigorated me.

Picea breweriana 'Emerald Midget'

In our Short-Road section near the dwarf bungeana is Picea breweriana 'Emerald Midget', another early Buchholz introduction of seedling origin. For some reason it has prospered even though the type struggles in my region on its own roots. The “Brewer's Weeping spruce” is native to southern Oregon and northern California and has adapted to the mountainous, rocky serpentine soils. That doesn't matter if you graft the species onto Picea abies, which is actually better for container or field culture, and you don't lose any ornamental quality by doing so. I admit that I started this blog somewhat critical of plant names such as 'Gnome' and 'Midget' etc., yet I have done so myself with 'Emerald Midget', which at 35 years of age has grown to 12' tall. I should point out also that it doesn't really display the “weeping” appearance, and that the needles' silvery undersides are more on display than with the type. In fact, a conifer “expert” from The Netherlands (E. Smits) questioned me about 'Emerald Midget's' specific identity, that he and other cognoscenti were certain that it was, in fact, a Picea omorika, not a Picea breweriana. I won't question their overall expertise, the buds of the two species; really focus on them and you must conclude that it is a P. breweriana. Really, do I have to do your homework for you?

Picea glauca 'Blue Teardrop'

I collected Picea mariana 'Blue Teardrop' about 15 years ago, and speaking of “doing one's homework,” I later discovered that the cultivar is more certainly a member of the Picea glauca tribe, so I was required to change/correct hundreds of labels...which further bewildered my already confused employees. In any case 'Blue Teardrop' is an appropriate name, and the selection provides a solidly formal, slow-growing dense evergreen for the landscape, one that can be most appreciated on dire winter days. Interestingly, Picea glauca var. albertiana conica, even the blue selections, are fairly easy to root, but the dwarf 'Blue Teardrop' is not, at least not for me. The selection was made at the old Mitsch Nursery in Aurora, Oregon as a sport of P. g. 'Echiniformis', a cultivar that frequently reverts.

Sciadopitys verticillata 'Picola'

Just outside the office door is a group of Sciadopitys verticillata 'Picola', a dwarf form with a broad pyramidal habit. It originated as a seedling selection before 1980 at the Bohlje Nursery of Westerstede, Germany. 'Picola' can be replicated easily by grafting onto seedling rootstock, but it can also be increased by rooted cuttings, which are neither easier nor more difficult than any other “Umbrella pine” cultivar. We used to have better rooting success earlier in my career, but back then I had a very skillful propagator who is no longer with me. We use a stronger hormone with Sciadopitys than with other conifers, and even though the cutting will strike roots, water management under mist is crucial as the needle whorls don't easily shed the water and the center bud can rot. The stem is unable to push another growth bud, and even keeping the cutting on life support for another 2 years will not accomplish a miracle. In the distant past, and this year also, we attempted additional measures such as soaking the cuttings in water for 24 hours before planting. We're ever hopeful and keep on trying, but honestly I would gladly accept a 50% success rate, and also I would love to have my old propagator back.

Sciadopitys verticillata 'Fatso'

Buchholz Nursery also selected a more-dwarf (than the type) Umbrella pine and we named it 'Fatso'. I discovered, however, that our grafts would push vigorous growth and a few years later we would just have a regular-looking Sciadopitys, unlike the better behaved 'Picola'. I planted our specimen by the office where it looks good, but we haven't propagated it in at least 10 years.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Kosteri Fast Form'

Where space allows, Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Kosteri Fast Form' is an attractive evergreen conifer of dense pyramidal habit with cupped olive-green foliage. The selection originated as a more vigorous mutation of C. o. 'Kosteri' (obviously) which is itself a choice slow-growing cultivar. There also exists in the trade an 'Oregon Crested' cultivar which may or may not be the same as 'Kosteri Fast Form', but in any case they look the same.

Ginkgo biloba 'Chi chi'

Ginkgo biloba 'Chi chi' is a wonderful semi-dwarf selection with a dense, broad pyramidal form. Cuttings in summer root readily under mist, and we can achieve a 6-8' tree in about ten years. I have a 25-tree hedge planted next to my back yard and it's quite a sight to behold in autumn. We had grown 'Chi chi' for a number of years, then about ten years ago I was convinced by someone (whom I now don't remember) that the name should be 'Tschi tschi', so we changed all of our labels and sold them the new way. My wife Haruko disapproved because that was not a valid Japanese name, and that it was possibly Chinese. Anyway we're now back to 'Chi chi' which means “breasts” in Japanese, and chi chi also means “breasts” in Spanish, or at least in Mexican Spanish. The genus name Ginkgo is actually a mistake in translation spelling; it should have been the Japanese gin meaning “silver” and kyo meaning “apricot” due to the edible white seed which is hidden inside the vomit-smelling outer flesh. Fortunately 'Chi chi' is a male clone, although ginkgoes have been known to change sex.

Picea glauca 'Daisy's White' 

May is the month of glory for Picea glauca 'Daisy's White', a dwarf pyramid that features cream-white new growth. It originated as a mutation on P. g. 'albertiana conica' that was discovered by L. Jeurissen-Wijnen from Belgium, which explains why it was originally named 'J. W. Daisy's White'. Daisy is his granddaughter's name. The colors change throughout the season beginning with butter-yellow buds which contrast with the green of the older foliage. Then the color changes to a yellowish white, and then to green in summer. According to Promising Conifers from the Nederlandse Coniferen Vereniging, “This pearl should be placed somewhere in the half-shadow...[it] can be used for many purposes in a small garden, a heath garden, on cemeteries, in a rock garden or on a balcony or terrace. Alas this plant can have problems with plant louse and red spider.”

Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Little Stan' 

Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Little Stan' is a dwarf, dense pyramid consisting of juvenile foliage, bright blue-green in spring, hardening to a gray green by summer. This cultivar was discovered by nurseryman Nelis Kools from Deurne, The Netherlands and was named for one of his nephews. Nelis's nursery holds the Dutch national collection of Sequoiadendron, Sequoia and Metasequoia, no easy feat since his property is not that large. The plant can burn in winter in Oregon when it is young, but after a few years in the ground – in full sun – it can tolerate the weather. 'Little Stan' originated as a seedling, and it's fascinating that the cute dwarf came from a parent that is a member of the most massive tree on earth. However, I had one planted in our Conifer Field where I hadn't paid any attention to it all spring and summer a few years ago. To my shock I noticed one day that it had bolted from the top and produced a 4' normal Sequoiadendron leader, completely different from the juvenile foliage at the base. I informed Nelis about the situation and found it strange that a seedling could do that, when we both are familiar with cultivars from witch's broom origin that can revert back to normal. I threw out that particular tree but we still propagate and sell 'Little Stan', and they are produced easily by rooted cuttings in winter. One could graft it too, I suppose, but that might make it even more likely to revert.

Abies concolor 'Archer's Dwarf'

Abies concolor 'Archer's Dwarf' is a very garden-worthy cultivar, but it must be placed with excellent drainage. It will be rather globose when young but eventually will assume a pyramidal shape. The needles are unusual for an Abies concolor in that they are more fine than normal and also they are slightly sickle-shaped and point towards the main stem. 'Archer's Dwarf' was introduced by Gordon Haddow of Kenwith Nursery, England, and was named for the discoverer J. W. Archer from Farnham, England.

Tsuga canadensis 'Bergman's Heli'

Tsuga canadensis 'Creamy'

Tsuga canadensis 'Betty Rose'

I just walked through the original Display Garden and three mature Canadian hemlocks are planted near each other, all with pyramidal forms. Each is seldom encountered at their sizes, but they have all been through a lot of growing seasons. The foliage on Tsuga canadensis is delightful in May, so fresh and clean-looking. 'Bergman's Heli' is one we no longer propagate, but today I wonder why not? We continue to propagate 'Creamy', but when they're sold in one-gallon pots the form is low and spreading. The same for 'Betty Rose', but you can see that they both eventually grow upward. The 'Betty Rose' is considered a “miniature” but my 40-year-old specimen is nearly 10' tall now, and I'll bet that it is the largest in the world. The original plant was discovered in Maine by Francis Heckman of Pennsylvania. According to John Swartley's The Cultivated Hemlocks, “'Betty Rose' is the dwarfest of the white-tipped hemlocks, a very striking plant and a favorite of the author.” A favorite of this author too.

I don't want to overstay my welcome with excessive verbiage, but the plump pyramids are in their prime in May and they are best seen in person. The Flora Wonder Arboretum is somewhat of a prison for me, a beautiful one however.