The Plant Man column
for publication week of 05/22/05 - 05/28/05
The Plant Man
by Steve Jones
One of the toughest questions to answer is one I get asked quite
frequently: "What is your favorite tree?"
Whew! That's like asking Grandma to pick her favorite grandchild!
Everyday, as I walk around the Nursery, I see so many different trees
and each one fascinates me in its own way. So, depending on when you
ask me, I'm likely to describe enthusiastically my current favorite!
Yes, favorites are hard to define, whether we're talking about trees
or grandkids. But it might be easier to answer the question if we break
out the answer into four categories: evergreen, deciduous, flowering
<a href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/21762 ">Douglas Fir
(Pseudotsuga menziesii)</a> The Douglas Fir is one of the
fastest-growing of the evergreen forest trees, even faster than the
Frazier. If you're thinking of lining a long driveway, planting a
row of Douglas Firs on either side will quickly add a stately ambience,
and because of the fast growth, they give the appearance of having been
there for years. A Douglas Fir also makes a nice stand-alone specimen
with its characteristic soft, blue/green needles. Even at the height of
summer, a Douglas Fir reminds me of Christmas (my favorite Holiday) so
you can see why it figures high on my list of favored trees.
Other favorite evergreens: <a
href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/4644 ">Eastern White
href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/4622 ">Norway Spruce</a>.
<a href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/22193 ">Dawn Redwood
Gold Rush</a>. I'll admit I'm prejudiced towards this one because
it was developed by a good friend of mine, Don Shadow, who is one of
the most remarkable horticulturists I've ever known. The Gold Rush
is aptly named: in the spring the foliage emerges as a deep golden
color and stays that way well into the summer. The foliage turns green
for a while then changes again to a burnished orange-brown in the fall.
It seems to be fairly easy to grow and is resistant to most pests and
diseases, reaching a height of about 50 feet after 20 years and topping
out between 75 and 100 feet.
Other favorite deciduous trees: <a
href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/340 ">Black Walnut</a>,
<a href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/305 ">Cherrybark
Oak</a>, <a href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/298 ">Chinese
<a href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/22657 ">Red Bud
Appalachian Red (Cercis Canadensis)</a> Another spectacular plant
brought to my attention by Don Shadow who tells me that this variety
was found by Dr. Max Byrkit. The Appalachian Red blooms later than most
similar cultivars. I like that because, for me, it prolongs the fresh
beauty of spring quite late into the season. When it blooms, the
branches are covered with a wonderful display of bright, neon-red
flowers before the glossy, heart-shaped leaves appear. An unusual tree
but well worth searching for!
Other favorite flowering trees: <a
href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/22197 ">Crape Myrtle
<a href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/5754 ">Moonglow
Pear</a>. If you like Bartlett pears as much as we do, you'll love
Moonglow. Cheryl and I like it because it is soft and juicy without
being mushy. Moonglow has a unique creamy glow to its skin and nice
musky fragrance when you bite into it. Of course, it is also an
attractive tree that can add a special something to your landscape.
Other favorite fruit trees: Pineapple Pear, Elberta Peach, Fuji Apple
Yes, I know: ask me again in a few months or maybe next spring and
I'll probably have some new favorites that are sparking my
enthusiasm. That's what makes life such an adventure for landscapers
and gardeners: there's always something new (or at least, newly
discovered) to get us excited!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs
and landscaping to <a
resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free
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