Weeping conifers add focal point for landscapes
October 9, 2011
By Christina Salwitz
Modern landscapes tend to be on the smaller side, and most people would like to concentrate on smaller-scale specimen plants as focal points in a small garden.
The benefits of conifers in winter in particular add to the focal point options in landscapes by adding structure, texture and color with interesting shapes and colors.
Weeping trees are often not very tall. They will usually stay at whatever height the lead is or where the crown is no longer supported and begins to weep downward as they grow.
However, do not underestimate how wide any weeping tree may get, and give them room to fulfill their potential.
The weeping deodora cedar (cedrus deodora pendula) is a striking steel blue that really holds up to strong, bold colors in the landscape. It thrives in the hottest locations as a drought-tolerant tree, with stiff, short needles.
It can make a very creative container display plant for many years as well.
The weeping Eastern white pine (pinus strobus pendula) is a soft-needled conifer that begs you to touch it as you walk by. It has a soft blue-green needle color, and it lends an excellent flair to any style of garden but particularly an Asian or Zen-influenced design where it can shine as a tree that can be near a path or walkway for its tactile quality.
The weeping Norway spruce (picea abies pendula) is an elegant, small-needled tree that has a more stiff structure to its deep-green branching.
This tree adds a graceful waterfall effect in the small garden. It looks particularly nice when the lower branching is allowed to puddle down at the base, like fabric curtains on the floor.
It’s another quite drought- tolerant species once it is established in later years.
The weeping larch (larix pendula) is an excellent example of a conifer with multiseasonal interest.
It is a deciduous conifer, which is hard for people to imagine until they see it in its various stages of development. In spring, it will come out with soft, bright-green needles, while in summer, the needles will turn more of a blue-green. In fall, they will start to turn from bronze to a lovely, rich gold with amber hues before dropping the needles to reveal the tree’s graceful weeping structure for the winter.
Christina Salwitz is a professional landscape designer and nursery consultant at the Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand.