Top 10 Weeping Japanese Maples

There are so many available on the market today it's a little overwhelming. They come in large variety of shapes and colors. The weeping or cascading forms are usually low growing with a mushroom-shaped form. Most but not all have delicate laceleaf foliage and are suitable for mixed borders, containers, rockeries or cascading over a water feature. Easy to care for, all they need is well-drained soil (never water-logged conditions) and sun exposure depends on the cultivar. Young plants may scorch in hot afternoon sun, especially on a deck or concrete patio. Resembling drought, the fine leaves curl and turn brown at the tips, if severe enough the whole leave is affected. Don't panic and over water, they will become resistant to this as they get older. Give them room to mature, while considered a small maple they can develop a large spread with age, or simply prune and shape to maintain a smaller size.

1# 'Crimson Queen' Acer palmatun dissectum: Laceleaf cascading type with dense wine-red foliage turning brilliant red in fall. Very popular selection and easy to grow.

2# 'Green Cascade' Acer japonicum: A unique weeping maple with broad dissected leaves. The green foliage turns bright yellow, orange and red in fall. For more height stake the center leader. Related to the full moon cultivars its best planted in light afternoon shade to avoid scorched foliage.

3# 'Inaba Shidare' Acer palmatum dissectum: An old time favorite that's been around for awhile. A vigorous and fairly fast growing weeping laceleaf maple, with wine-red foliage turning red in fall.

4# 'Lionheart' Acer palmatum dissectum: An unusual selection of laceleaf maple with reddish-purple foliage and red fall color. The weeping branches are similar to other dissectums, what makes it different is the height, growing taller with a layered look.

5# 'Orangelo' Acer palmatum dissectum: The chameleon of the maple world this cascade maple changes color all season. The laceleaf foliage is orange-red in spring, turning purplish-green in summer, then red and finishing bright orange-red in fall. A vigorous grower when young, but slows down with age, also one of the last to lose its leaves in fall.

6# 'Red Dragon' Acer palmatum dissectum: Intense reddish-purple foliage with scarlet spring and fall color. An attractive slow growing laceleaf weeper, it remains purple even in shade. Similar to crimson queen in form but smaller.

7# 'Ryusen' Acer palmatum: Unique, unusual describe this dwarf weeping maple. Unlike the laceleaf types this little gem has small bright green palmatum leaves, turning a brilliant golden-orange and red in fall. Can be trained to cascade over rocks and walls or staked for height.

8# 'Tamuke yama' Acer palmatum dissectum: Similar to Inaba shidare in form, this dark purple-red laceleaf weeper has grayish bark. Like Inaba Shidare it can get tall and wide with age, so give it room to mature.

9# 'Toyama nishiki' Acer palmatum dissectum: Different is the word to describe this laceleaf weeping maple. What makes it unique is the variegated foliage. The basic purple-green leaves are splashed with pink and white in spring, turning orange-red in fall. It needs a sheltered area in light afternoon shade. Not as hardy and needing more care than others types its uniqueness makes it worth the effort.

10# 'Waterfall' Acer palmatum dissectum: A green version of Crimson queen, this hardy bright green laceleaf weeper turns an attractive golden-orange in fall.


Top 10 Dwarf Conifers

Dwarf conifers are suitable for any garden, especially were space may be limited. They also make great rockery and container plants, providing year round interest and color to the landscape. The term dwarf can be misleading as conifers never stop growing and are long lived plants. So be careful, choose plants that are either slow growing or prune to maintain size, so they don't outgrow their space in the garden.

1# Fir 'Dwarf Balsam' Abies Balsamea nana: Rounded shrub with glossy dark bluish-green foliage, bright green new growth in spring. A nice shrub for shade gardens.

2# Cedrus 'Feeling Blue' Cedrus deodara: Low spreading shrub with blue-grey foliage. Suitable for any garden or trailing over rocks & walls. Prune to maintain spread.

3# Crytomeria 'Tenzan' Cryptomeria japonica: Ball form with deep green foliage turning deep purple in winter. Small specimen shrub with winter interest.

4# Hemlock 'Cole's Prostrate' tsuga canadensis: Low spreading form with trailing branches and dark green foliage. Good as a ground cover, container, bonsai or trailing over rocks & walls. Needs afternoon shade.

5# Larch 'Little Boogle' Larix kaempferi: A deciduous conifer with contorted branches, attractive green foliage and golden-orange fall color. A unique shrub that's not truly a dwarf, reaching 2m tall in ten years, but deserves a spot in the garden. Perfect for containers or bonsai.

6# Juniper 'Blue Star' Juniperus Squamata: Star shaped form with bright silver-blue foliage. Good as a border edge shrub, mass plantings or rockery.

7# Pine 'Adcock's Dwarf' Pinus parviflora: Compact conical form with tiny greyish-green needles. A slow growing shrub for rockeries, containers or bonsai.

8# Pine 'Sea Urchin' Pinus strobus: Rounded shrub with dense soft green foliage. Suitable as a small specimen, rockery or containers.

9# Podpcarpus 'Chocolate Box' Podocarpus x: Rounded form with green foliage turning a attractive dark brown in winter. Small shrub with winter interest, suitable for rockery or containers.

10# Spruce 'Little Gem' Picea abies: Bun-shaped small shrub with tiny dark green needles and bright green new growth. Tolerates both sun or shade.


Top 10 Flowering deciduous trees

You know spring is here and can put the winter blues behind, at the sight of a deciduous tree in full bloom. While most deciduous trees flower in spring, there are some very nice summer flowering types. When choosing a tree make sure the mature size and spread will fit in the landscape. Ask if the tree is suitable for our climate, the Comox Valley is considered ZONE 7, there are micro climates that are warmer than the average Temperature and able to grow the more exotic types like the Empress tree. Important are soil conditions, most require well-drained soils in winter and do not tolerate standing water. Try to pick trees that offer more than just blooms, example interesting form or leaves, fall color or unique bark for seasonal interest. Don't over look planting fruit trees they put on a pretty good display, while the blooms may be short lived, you can always look forward to eating the fruit.

1# Cherry Ornamental 'Kwanzan' Prunus avium: Nothing can quite compare in spring to the stunning display of double pink flowers of this cultivar. A medium sized tree that's suitable as a single specimen or lining a long driveway. Sadly, ornamental cherries are not long lived and can be susceptible to other problems, but well worth the effort.

2# Dogwood 'Eddie's White Wonder' Cornus hybrid: A cross between our native Cornus nuttallii and florida, it's a reliable producer of masses of large white flowers in spring with attractive fall color. Suitable for most average sized gardens.

3# Dogwood 'Rainbow' Cornus florida: A small tree with bright yellow & green leaves and white flowers in spring. The fall foliage is a rainbow of pink, red, & purple. While suitable for most gardens, it will need pruning when older to maintain size.

4# Golden Chain Tree 'Weeping' Laburnum alpinum pendula: A flowering dwarf tree with trailing branches. The scented yellow flowers hang in long chains in spring. Suitable for small gardens or large containers. (Note: caution all parts are toxic)

5# Lilac 'Japanese Tree Lilac' Syringa reticulata: This summer flowering tree is covered in fragrant creamy-white flowers. Has attractive bark for winter interest and small enough that it deserves consideration.

6# Magnolia 'Oyama' Magnolia sieboldii: Summer flowering, this shrub-like tree produces fragrant cup-shaped white flowers with red centers in summer. Attractive shaped foliage, fall color and small enough for most gardens.

7# Mountain Ash 'Pink Pagoda' Sorbus hupehensis: A beautiful cultivar with bluish-green foliage, the white spring flowers are followed by clusters of pink berries that persist into winter. Top off with orange & red fall color and this small to medium sized tree will add color to any landscape.

8# Pear Ornamental 'Chanticleer' Pyrus calleryana: An attractive shape this medium sized tree produces masses of showy white flowers in spring. Brilliant fall color and slow growing it's perfect for all but the smallest yards.

9# Redbud 'Hearts of Gold' Cercis canadensis: Colorful is the word to describe this spring flowering tree, bright golden foliage and small lavender-purple blooms. While not overly tall it does have a wide canopy, so choose a site carefully.

10# Stewartia 'Japanese' Stewartia pseudocamellia: A tree with year round interest, producing white flowers in summer, attractive form & foliage, peeling bark and stunning orange & red fall color. Fairly slow growing, it's a nice addition to any average sized garden. (Note: needs very well-drained soils in winter)


Top 10 Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses can add interest, form and texture to the landscape. Most grasses are easy to grow, simply water during the hot summer months and fertilize in spring. They need little maintenance other than cutting back deciduous types, (best done in spring) or dividing clumps that have gotten too big. The most important thing for success is providing the right exposure and soil conditions for each type of grass. There is a wide selection of grasses available on the market but there are some that stand out.

1# Carex 'Ice Dance' Evergreen: A hardy low growing sedge with cascading green foliage and white margins. Grows well in sun, shade or containers. Can be used as a border edge, mixed borders or for mass plantings. Water regularly during hot summer months.

2# Hakonechloa 'All Gold' Deciduous: Japanese forest grass is a low growing clumping grass with bright yellow cascading foliage. Needs afternoon shade, great for adding color in shade and woodland gardens, also makes a great container plant.

3# Imperata 'Japanese Blood Grass' Deciduous: Spreading medium sized grass with green foliage and bright red tips. Best in full sun and well drained soil. Stunning when mass planted and back lit by the sun.

4# Miscanthus 'Cosmopolitan' Deciduous: A clumping grass with broad green & white foliage. Beautiful 7'-8' tall accent plant or suitable for large containers. Plant in full sun or light shade.

5# Miscanthus 'Gold Bar' Deciduous: Clumping grass with green foliage and horizontal yellow banding about 4' tall. Not as drought tolerant as others from this family, will need regular watering during the summer. Tolerant of afternoon shade.

6# Miscanthus 'Gracillimus' Deciduous: Graceful clumping grass with arching green foliage and airy flowers in fall. A tall grass forming large clumps, can be used as single specimen, screen or for mass plantings. Full sun or light shade in fertile well-drained soil.

7# Mondo 'Black Mondo Grass' Evergreen: A lily turf and not a true grass it's black foliage is however grass-like. Dwarf, slow spreading, producing small bell-shaped white to pink flowers in summer. Best in afternoon shade and fertile well-drained soil. Looks great in light colored containers, used for mass plantings or mixed with brightly colored plants.

8# Molina 'Variegated Moor Grass' Deciduous: Low growing clumper with cascading foliage. Soft green and creamy-yellow variegated foliage. Airy flowers on long stalks and is drought tolerant when established. Suitable as single specimen or for mass plantings. Best in afternoon sun and needs well-drained soil in winter.

9# Pampas 'White': Semi-evergreen: Tall grass forming large clumps, beautiful large white, ostrich feather-like plumes in fall. Full sun or light shade and needs well-drained soil in winter. Suitable as a eye catching specimen grass or a screen.

10# Panicum 'Rostrabusch' Deciduous: A clump forming grass with green foliage, lots of airy flowers and brilliant rusty orange and red fall color. Nice medium sized specimen grass for mass planting. Best in afternoon sun in fertile well-drained soil.


Top 10 Deciduous Flowering Shrubs

There are so many beautiful deciduous flowering shrubs out there, that I'm going to focus on 10 that have other interests or uses, than just flowers. Deciduous shrubs are usually pretty hardy and can take what the weather throws at them. Unlike broadleaved evergreens they aren't effected by winter burn, producing no leaves until the warmer spring weather. Most thrive in fertile well-drained soils, exposure to sun or shade depends on the plant, but those with fall color should have some afternoon sun to produce the best color. Pruning can be done in spring, fall or after flowering depending on the type of shrub. Heavy pruning every year can effect flower production for the following year, so check first if the shrub produces flowers on old or new wood. Some like Spireas can be pruned to almost ground level when they become sparse on the bottom and will bounce back in no time. When a deciduous shrub fails its usually because of waterlogged soil in winter, this can cause root rot so be careful when picking a site.

1# Berberis 'Rose glow' Berberis thunbergii: Thorny, rounded form with arching branches, mature size around 4' x 4'. Tiny clusters of yellow flowers in spring, followed by small red berries. The spring purple foliage is splashed with pink and white by summer. While not particularly showy flowers, it's the foliage color, drought tolerance and deer resistant's that makes this shrub a good choice. Suitable as a specimen shrub, rockery or low hedge. Needs well-drained soil in full sun and can be pruned anytime.

2# Enkianthus 'Red Bells' Enkianthus campanulates: Upright shrub with tiered form and whorled branches, bell-shaped creamy-yellow flowers with reddish-pink veins, blooms in late spring. Fall color brilliant yellow, orange and red. This under-rated shrub is slow growing and matures to about 8'-12' tall x 4'-6' wide. Sun or filtered shade in fertile moist but well-drained soil and needs little or no pruning.

3# Forthergilla 'Mount Airy' Fothergilla major: Rounded shrub with green foliage and attractive fragrant white bottlebrush-like flowers. Showy yellow, orange and red fall color, mature size 3'-5' tall x wide. A nice smaller specimen shrub or low hedge. Sun or light shade in fertile well-drained soil and needs minimal pruning. 'Blue Shadow' is another nice cultivar with bluish-green foliage but grows taller than Mount Airy.

4# Hibiscus 'Blue Chiffon' Hibiscus syriacus: A vigorous, hardy and easy to grow Hibiscus. Very showy large blue flowers with lacy centers. Blooms in late summer and is suitable as a specimen shrub, container or hedge. Prune in late fall or early spring if needed. Grow in full sun or light shade in fertile well-drained soil. 

5# Hydrangea 'Pia' Hydrangea macrophyllia: A true dwarf hydrangea reaching only 2' tall x 3' wide. Rounded shrub with pink to purple mophead flowers depending on soil acidity, blooms in summer. Attractive glossy green foliage and suitable for borders edge or containers. Flowers are produced on old wood so light pruning in early spring if needed, heavy pruning will effect quantity of flowers for the following year. Hydrangeas can be grown in some afternoon sun if watered regularly in summer.

6# Lilac 'Miss Kim' Syringa patula: Compact smaller lilac with very fragrant pale lavender flowers, blooms in late spring. Dark green foliage turns a deep purple in fall. While the flowers maybe smaller than other types of lilacs, its hardiness, fragrance, fall color and resistance to disease makes this one a winner. Suitable as a specimen shrub, container or screen. Best in full sun and fertile well-drained soil, prune after flowering if needed.

7# Lilac 'Royalty' Syringa x prestoniae: Upright multi-stemmed form, around  8' tall x 6' wide. Showy lightly scented violet-purple flowers, blooms in late spring. What makes this lilac stand out from the rest is its hardiness, non suckering habit and tolerance of urban pollution. Plant in full sun, any well-drained soil, needs little or no pruning

8# Spirea 'Firelight' Spiraea japonica: Dwarf rounded shrub, about 2'-3' tall x 2'-3' wide with colorful foliage. Spring foliage bright orange turning golden, summer yellow & green, turning scarlet in fall with pink flowers in summer. A hardy specimen shrub, suitable for large rockery or low hedge. Full sun or part shade, well-drained soil and can be pruned in spring, fall or after flowering.

9# Spirea 'Snowmound' Spiraea nipponica: Rounded compact shrub with arching branches. Attractive dense dark green foliage with nice fall color. Masses of white flowers along branch length. This stunning, hardy, fast growing shrub makes an attractive specimen, hedge or screen. Full sun or part shade, well-drained soil, grows around 4'-5' tall x 5' wide. Doesn't need pruning ever
year, but can be cut back hard if needed.

10# Witch Hazel 'Jelena' Hamamelis X intermedia: Large vase-shaped form, 8'-12' tall x wide. Beautiful lightly fragrant, copper-orange flowers in late winter to early spring, produced before foliage. Stunning Yellow, orange and red fall color. Suitable as specimen shrub or screen. Full sun or light shade, fertile moist but well-drained soil. Prune in spring if needed to maintain form and size.

Top 10 Japanese Maples with green foliage

While most people are attracted to the bright colored foliage of purple and yellow leaved maples, it's the green types that usually produce the best fall colors. Most are easy to grow and are suitable for full sun or partial shade, although too much afternoon shade can affect the fall color. Important is soil conditions, no Japanese maples will tolerate standing water, especially in winter, so plant only in well-drained soil. Use a slow release fertilizer in spring and water moderately during the summer months. Also important is pruning, which should only be done after any chance of frost is past. At the nursery we usually prune our maples in the summer time, this is also the time we graft our new maples. The ten listed below are very different from each other in both form, leaf shape and fall color. These ten are but a small sampling of the green leafed types that are available on the market today, there are so many more. Every year there are new cultivars available, but the ten I picked have stood the test of time and proven both hardy and popular. 

1# 'Hogyoku' Acer palmatum: Large shrub-like tree reaching 16'-20' tall at maturity, fairly slow growing it will take some time to reach this height. This maple has a an attractive broad seven-lobed leaf, that turns a rich deep orange in fall. Easy to grow but still fairy uncommon on the market today. 

2# Kihachijo: Acer palmatum: A rounded shrub-like tree reaching up to 16'-20' tall at maturity, but can easily be pruned to maintain a smaller size. The bright green leaf is seven-lobed and deeply divided with serrated edges. This attractive maple has brilliant red, orange and yellow fall color and has unique grayish-green bark. 

3# Koto-no-ito: Acer palmatum: This small maple is slow growing, reaching 10' tall with a vase-shaped form. The five or seven-lobed leaves are thread-like giving this hardy little tree a delicate look. An attractive golden-yellow color with an orange tint in fall. While fully sun tolerant it benefits from some shelter from hot drying summer winds. Suitable for small gardens, it also makes a good container shrub. 

4# Mikawa yatsubusa: Acer palmatum: A compact dwarf reaching 5' tall and densely branched. The fresh green leaves overlap giving it a unique layered look. The leaves are five to seven lobed, deeply divided and taper to a point. The fall color on this little gem is yellow and orange. This small shrub makes an excellent container plant or can be used for rockeries or Bonsai.

5# Sango kaku: Acer palmatum: This large growing Japanese maple can reach up to 26' tall x 20' wide at maturity, but can be maintained as a smaller form with annual pruning. Often referred to as the coral bark maple because of the coral-red bark which intensifies in fall and throughout winter. The small light green leaves are red edged in spring turning a striking golden-yellow with a pinkish-red tinge in fall. Best planted in a sheltered spot from winter winds to avoid tip die-back.

6# Satsuki beni: Acer palmatum:  A beautiful vigorous shrub-like maple which grows 16' tall or more at maturity. The attractive seven lobed broad leaf has a rounded shape and is bright green in spring with red tips. Outstanding orange-red to crimson fall color, makes this maple a nice addition to the landscape. 

7# Seiryu: Acer palmatum dissectum:  Large tree-like maple with a wide canopy, reaching 16'-23' tall x 10'-13' wide. This is one of the few upright Japanese maples with lace leaf foliage similar to the cascading types. The delicate light green leaves turn a golden-orange to reddish-scarlet in fall. The fairly fast growth rate, size and width makes this graceful tree unsuitable for small gardens.   

8# Shishigashira: Acer palmatum:  The lion's mane maple is a slow growing vase-shaped shrub-like tree, and while it can reach a good size with great age it will take a very long time. A very dense and compact form with stiff upright branching. The unique small dark green leaves are curled giving it a crinkled look. The new growth is bright green contrasting attractively with the darker foliage. Fall color is golden with a crimson hue. The slow growth rate makes this a great maple for small gardens, containers or Bonsai.  

9# Ukon: Acer palmatum: What sets this shrub-like maple apart from the rest is the pea-green bark and branches, becoming very noticeable in winter. The small leaves are light green and turn bright yellow in fall. Slow growing it can reach 20' tall with a wide canopy but this will take a very long time. A beautiful maple for winter accent and the slow growth rate makes it suitable for large containers.  

10# Wou nishiki: Acer palmatum dissectum:  Narrow upright maple, reaching about 13' tall at maturity. The leaves are deeply divided with serrated edges and taper to long sharp tips. The bright green foliage turns a bright crimson in fall. The narrow canopy makes this a nice maple for smaller gardens.



Top 10 Plants for Hedging

A hedge can be an important addition to the garden, providing privacy, act as sound barrier or define property lines. Which hedging to choose will depend on a number of factors. Deer will be one of those factors and will determine which plants to pick. Some plants are quite resistant but none are totally Deer proof, what they leave alone in one area they may eat in another. Check around the neighborhood and see what your neighbors use if you live in a high Deer area. Estimate how much room is available, if the space is very narrow, don't use plants that grow excessively wide. Take in account power lines, scenic views you might not want to block and if vision will be restricted when leaving your driveway. Consider the impact a large hedge or screen will have on your neighbors (especially in city plots). It will not only restrict their view but could create heavy shade in their yard which they might not want. 

Before getting started decide on a budget, because of the number of plants needed, hedging can be become expensive if you are doing a long stretch. Younger plants sold in 1 or 2 gallons are much cheaper than more established plants. Although larger plants will provide privacy faster, they will be more expensive, may be harder to find and take more work to install.

The best time to plant is in spring or fall, but you can plant in summer if the plants are container grown. Water regularly for the first two years, this will give the roots a change to develop, soaker hoses work best and saves time. Use a slow release fertilizer in spring to insure a vigorous and healthy hedge. Pruning time will depend on the type of plants used, but may need to be done annually once established, for a neat and tidy look.

1# Beech 'European' Fagus sylvatica: Deciduous: A popular hedge in Europe, it makes a dense barrier that's long-lived, very tolerant of pollution and salt spray. Fall color is copper-brown and the dried leaves persist throughout winter, adding extra privacy. Plant 3' or 4' feet apart for a pruned hedge and can be maintained at 6' tall. Plant in full sun or light shade in any type of well-drained soil. Average water requirements during the summer months and pruning can be done in summer or fall. Considered Deer resistant in most areas

2# Boxwood 'Little Gem' Buxus microphylla: Evergreen: A dense rounded form with small green leaves. Suitable for knot gardens, sheared or shaped hedges and can be maintained at 1' tall. Plant 8" or 12" inches apart for knot gardens, 12"-18" for sheared hedge and 2' feet apart for shaped. Grow in full sun or part shade in fertile well-drained soil. Water regularly if the summers are hot and dry. Prune once a year after spring growth or late summer. Deer resistant

3# Boxwood 'English Variegated' Buxus sempervirens: Evergreen: English boxwoods are used as low hedges, defining property lines or borders and can be maintained at 3' to 4' tall. This variegated cultivar has green and creamy yellow foliage and makes a colorful dense hedge. Plant 1' or 2' apart in fertile well-drained soil and water regularly if the summers are hot and dry. Prune once a year after spring growth or midsummer. Deer resistant

4# Cedar 'Emerald' Thuja occidentalis: Conifer: Narrow pyramidal form with rich emerald green foliage. Suitable as a privacy hedge, noise barrier or for small gardens. Also makes a nice green background for colorful garden beds. Grows about 12' tall x 3' wide and needs no pruning except to top to desired height, can be maintained at 4' tall. Plant about 2' apart for sheared hedge  and 3' feet as a screen. Needs fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Not drought tolerant, water regularly during the summer months. Not Deer resistant

5# Cedar 'Excelsa' Thuja plicata: Conifer: Related to our native Western Red Cedar. Excelsa cedars have glossy dark green foliage and makes a very dense large sheared hedge. Plant 3' or 4' feet apart and can be maintained at 6'-7' tall by 4' wide. If a higher hedge is desired adjust the width accordingly. Fast to moderate growth rate and capable of growing 2' feet a year. Needs fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Prune in late spring or summer. Not Deer resistant when young

6# Cypress 'Leylandii' X Cupressocparis: Conifer: Very fast growing up to 3' to 4' feet a year and makes a very large sheared hedge suitable for privacy, windbreak or a sound barrier. Plant 3' or 4' feet apart and can be maintained at 6'-7' tall by 4' wide with frequent pruning. If a higher hedge is desired adjust the width accordingly. Also makes an excellent screen but keep in mind they grow very large and fast, so take in account your neighbors, views that will be effected and the shade a very large hedge or screen will cast. Grow in any well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Prune anytime between spring and fall and is tolerant of both pollution and salt spray. Deer resistant

7# Holly 'Sky Pencil' Ilex crenata: Evergreen: Very narrow columnar form with dense dark green leaves. Suitable as a privacy hedge for small gardens or very narrow spaces. Grows about 8'-10' tall x 2'-3' wide at maturity. Plant about 1'.5 or 2' feet apart as a hedge and needs little or no pruning except to top to desired height. Plant in fertile well-drained soil in full sun or part shade with average water requirements during summer months. Considered Deer resistant in most areas

8# Osmanthus 'Burkwoodii' Osmanthus x burkwoodii: Evergreen: A dense rounded shrub with dark green leaves and very fragrant white flowers in spring. Grows around 8' tall x 8' wide, may grow larger under top growing conditions. Plant 3' or 4' apart for a pruned hedge. Plant in fertile well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Water regularly if the summers are hot and dry. Prune after flowering or allow to grow naturally as a large screen. Deer resistant

9# Pieris 'Mountain Fire' Pieris japonica: Evergreen: A dense compact shrub, producing white bell-shaped flowers in spring. Has attractive dark green foliage with bright red new growth, 11' tall x 7' wide at maturity. Makes an nice hedge or screen for privacy, plant about 3' apart. Prune in mid spring or after danger of frost is over. Grow in fertile well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Water regularly if the summers are hot and dry. Deer resistant

10# Prunus 'Portuguese Laurel' Prunus lusitanica : Evergreen: Dense rounded shrub with glossy dark green leaves. As a pruned hedge it provides privacy and acts as a noise barrier. Can be maintained at 3'-4' tall, although rarely keep this short. If left natural as a screen keep in mind this shrub will become very large with time. Plant about 3' feet apart for pruned hedge. Grow in full sun or shade in average well-drained soil. Water regularly for the first two years, after that it becomes fairly drought tolerant. Considered Deer resistant in most areas.


Top 10 Large specimen trees
These are the trees that often get mistakenly planted because they look so good when young, not taking in account their mature size. They definately have a spot in the landscape but only on large lots or acreage. When planting large trees remember, not near power lines, house foundations, septic fields, drive or walkways. Large trees grow large roots and can cause damage. Another important factor is the size of the house, a single story home should not have a huge tree that will dominate the landscape, making the house appear small. The same is true for a large home, too small a tree and the house will appear huge. The overall landscape should be balanced and pleasing to the eye. While large trees are not suitable for every garden they deserve mention for those that have the room.

1# Alaska Cedar 'Weeping' Chamaecyparis nootkantensis pendula: A narrow weeping conifer with graceful horizontal branching and long sprays of dark green foliage. While not overly wide, keep in mind they do get tall with age. Two cultivars 'Stricta and 'Green Arrow' are extremely narrow forms, with the branches hanging tight against the trunk and more suitable for smaller gardens.

2# Ash 'Golden desert'  Fraxinus anqustifolia:  Considered a medium sized deciduous tree, usually around 30' tall, it's the wide canopy that makes it unsuitable for small gardens. For those who do have the room, this beautiful tree has yellow spring & fall color, golden bark and black leaf buds in winter.

3# Beech 'Purple European'  Fagus sylvatica purpurea: A large deciduous tree with a wide canopy and colorful purple foliage that turns coppery-brown in fall. The leaves are often retained throughout the winter. While too large for the average city lot, it does make an excellent clipped hedge.

4# Cedrus 'Deodara Cypress' Cedrus deodara:  This conifer and the Giant Sequoia are often planted in the wrong spot, not taking into account the very large size and fast growth rate. But in the right setting a Deodara Cypress is a graceful, elegant tree with bluish-grey foliage and pendulous branches that sweep to the ground.

5# Chilean Pine 'Monkey Puzzle Tree' Araucaria araucana: While not to everyone's taste, this unusual prehistoric looking conifer, does have its charm in the right setting. Whorled branches, sharply pointed, dark green foliage and attractive bark makes it a unique specimen. Slow growing when young it will reach an impressive size with age. 

6# Maple 'Drummondii' Acer Platanoides: A Norway maple with broad light green leaves and creamy-white margins. An attractive fast growing deciduous tree it grows tall with a very wide canopy. A colorful shade tree for a large yard. (Note prune out any non-variegated foliage)

7# Metasequoia 'Dawn redwood Ogon' Metasequoia glyptostroboides: A deciduous conifer with striking golden-yellow foliage, attractive reddish bark and fall color. The color and fast growth rate, makes this large specimen tree a beautiful addition to the landscape. 

8# Oak 'Oak' Quercus: There are so many beautiful oaks to choose from, picking a particular one is hard. Most are long lived and become stately large trees with gnarled branches, like our native Garry oak. The Red and Scarlet oaks have brilliant fall colors. Pin oaks have attractive leaves and are available in a columnar form. A oak with yellow foliage is the English golden oak.  

9# Spruce 'Aurea'  Picea orientalis aurea: This Oriental spruce is stunning for part of the year when the new tips become bright yellow against the dark green mature foliage. Conical to pyramidal in form, the branches are slightly pendulous and sweep the ground. Not considered fast growing it can still become a large tree with age. 

10# Willow Weeping 'Niobe' Salix alba tristis:  Stately, elegant and graceful, describes this large deciduous golden weeping willow. This beautiful specimen tree needs room to mature and should never be planted near homes, drainage and sewer lines or septic fields.            

Top 10 Shrubs for container growing

Containers add interest to outdoor sitting areas by brightening up the empty spaces on decks, patios, terraces or entryways and is a nice solution for apartments or homes with little or no space for gardens. The color or shape of the containers is a personal choice, all one color can be very effect, as can different sized pots, often sold in sets. There are many different type of containers too choose from, find the one that fits your budget and complements the home. Pick colors that do not fade into the background of the house, the same is true with the plants. Example, a purple plant in a purple pot do not complement each other, instead a plant with light green or yellow foliage would. Shape is also important a tall pot shows off a weeping shrub better, allowing the trailing branches to hang down. When choosing your shrubs ask about growth rate, exposure and water requirements, not all plants are suitable for container growing. 

Very important is the growing media, never use garden soil it compacts to much over time, can harbor bugs and weeds. Potting soils heavy in peat can become waterlogged in winter and may not be suitable for all plants. The best mix is 3/4 bark mulch (semi-coarse) and 1/4 peat moss or potting soil, the bark allows for good drainage and air flow to the roots and will break down into soil, while the peat will retain some moisture. (Note: Never use Cedar bark). Water regularly during the summer months, pots dry out faster, especially on hot decks or patios. Feed with a slow release fertilizer in spring, suitable for containerized plants. Frequent watering leaches the fertilizer out faster than in garden beds, so it doesn't hurt to give the plants an extra boast of liquid fertilizer during the summer months. Protect your deck or patio from staining, use trays under the pots if needed. Check every few years under the pot to make sure roots are not blocking the drainage holes. Repot to larger containers as needed, it usually depends on the size of the pot or plants root system on how frequent this needs to be done.

1# Boxwood 'Green Balloon' Buxus sempervirens: Evergreen: While all boxwoods make good container plants, this one stands out because it needs no pruning to keep its compact round shape. Green Balloon has small rounded leaves, dense glossy green foliage and grows around 3' tall x 3' wide. Looks great in vase-shaped terra cotta containers and is suitable for both sun or shade.

2# Cedar 'Whipcord' Thuja plicata: Conifer: A unique conifer with a mounding form, dense arching branches and long thin thread-like foliage. As a grafted standard it makes a graceful weeping container plant. Needs a large pot and regular watering during the summer months. (Do not allow to dry out)

3# Cephalotaxus 'Japanese Plum Yew' Cephalotaxus harringtonia fastigiata: Conifer: This attractive plant has a distinctive vase-shaped vertical form and glossy dark green foliage. Grow in a large pair of matching containers to make an attractive focal point at a doorway. Its sun or shade tolerant and will need regular watering during the summer months. 

4# Gingko 'Witches Broom' Gingko biloba: Deciduous: Dwarf shrub-like tree with a compact rounded form and dense branching. Attractive fan-shaped green foliage with bright yellow fall color. Looks best in dark colored containers to compliment the bright colored foliage. Can be pruned to maintain size.

5# Holly 'Sky Pencil' Ilex crenata: Evergreen: A narrow columnar form with small glossy green foliage. Grows to about 10' tall x 3' wide at maturity, suitable for sun or part shade. Makes a nice vertical accent plant to frame entryway or for patio gardens. Looks stunning in tall square shaped containers.

6# Leucothoe 'Curly Red' Leucothoe axillaris: Evergreen: An unusual fairly new cultivar with twisted leaves. Low growing spreading form with glossy green foliage, red tipped in spring and fall and deep maroon in winter. Nice container plant for winter accent, best in afternoon shade.

7# Pieris 'Katsura' Pieris japonica: Evergreen: Compact rounded form with large glossy dark green foliage. The new growth is a striking wine-red to deep maroon color and produced throughout the season, except in winter. lightly scented rose-pink trailing bell-shaped flowers in late spring, grows around 4' tall x 4' wide.

8# Pine 'Horsford Dwarf' Pinus strobus: Conifer: This little pine has very soft short needles. A rounded form, is slow growing and looks great in dark colored containers. 

9# Poncirus 'Flying Dragon' Poncirus trifoliata: Deciduous: Unusual and exotic describes this interesting shrub. Producing fragrant white flowers in spring, followed by inedible orange-like fruit, yellow fall color and interesting striped bark. Add twisted stems with very long sharply curved thorns and you have an unique shrub for containers or Bonsai.

10# Willow 'Mountain' Salix arbuscula:  Deciduous: As a grafted standard this little gem is perfect as a container plant. Small glossy green leaves with golden-yellow fall color and upright pale yellow catkins in spring. Best planted in a tall pot to allow the weeping branches to drape over the edge.


Top 10 Plants with purple foliage
Plants with purple leaves stand out, draw the eye and add a splash of color to the landscape. But if over used they become distracting and over powering, this also goes for blue and yellow foliage too. A garden should be mostly some shade of green with the brighter colored plants used as focal points. Depending on the size of the garden, you can use purple in more than one bed to create a balanced landscape that's pleasing to the eye. For example you might use a tree with purple foliage in one area and carry the color through to another bed with purple shrubs. When using purple make sure it doesn't fade into the background of a building. Example: purple foliage would not stand out against a red or dark brown house, while yellow, blue or green would. There are no conifers with year round purple foliage that I can think of, but there are some that turn purple in winter, like Cryptomeria Elagans which has green foliage in summer and a deep purple tint in winter. Note: Most trees and shrubs with purple foliage need afternoon sun for the best color.

1# Berberis 'Concorde' Berberis thunbergii: Rounded dwarf shrub with dark purple foliage and small yellow flowers in spring. A nice deer resistant shrub for rockeries or a border edge. All Berberis are drought tolerant and need full sun, well-drained soil.

2# Beech 'Purple Fountain'  Fagus sylvatica pendula: A graceful weeping specimen tree with deep purple foliage and attractive silver bark. Mature height 25' to 30' tall x 15' wide. 

3# Elderberry 'Black Lace'  Sambucus nigra: Medium sized shrub with lacy black-purple leaves and clusters of light-pink flowers in spring. A fast growing shrub with attractive delicate foliage resembling a Japanese maple.

4# Maple 'Bloodgood' Acer palmatum: A popular selection of Japanese maple with reddish-purple foliage and bright red fall color. Suitable for large containers or small gardens. Needs well-drained soil in winter.

5# Maple 'Crimson Sentry' Acer platanoides: Medium sized tree with a narrow canopy and dense deep purple foliage. A small enough tree for an average garden, rarely reaching over 25' tall x 15' wide. 

6# Ninebark ' Diablo' Physocarpus opulifolius: Medium sized vase-shaped shrub with dark purple foliage. Small pinkish-white flowers in early summer. A nice specimen shrub which can be used as a hedge or screen.

7# Ornamental Plum 'Pissardii' Prunus cerasifera: Medium sized tree with rounded canopy. Dark reddish-purple foliage with masses of pink flowers in spring. Best in full sun with very well-drained soil in winter.

8# Redbud 'Ruby Falls' Cercis canadensis: Beautiful small weeping tree with heart-shaped purple leaves, deep lavender flowers in spring. Patience is needed as Cercis are one of the last trees to leave out in spring. Needs full sun and very well drained soil in winter.  

9# Smoke Bush 'Royal Purple'  Cotinus coggygria: Very large shrub with dark purple foliage turning scarlet in fall. Drought tolerant when established, can be pruned to maintain smaller size.

10# Weigela 'Midnight Wine' Weigela florida:  Small shrub with dark purple foliage, attractive funnel-shaped pink flowers in late spring. Suitable for border edge or rockery.

Top 10 Japanese Maples with purple foliage
The ten listed below are all upright types, but very different from each other in form, leave type or height. Like the green leaved maples there are so many out there. Choosing the right one will depend on personal taste and the space available. While any Japanese maple can be pruned to restrict height, some can grow large, making them unsuitable for small gardens or containers. With the selection available, it's better to find a cultivar that fits rather than trying to contain the growth with annual pruning. Most purple leaved maples need afternoon sun to achieve the best color and turn greenish in too much shade. There are exception like Red Dragon and Fireglow, which can handle afternoon shade without losing their color. I can't stress the importance of well-drained soil especially in winter for the heath of your Japanese maple. This also goes for container grown maples, never use garden soil or a heavy peat based potting mix, which retains to much moisture in winter. What works the best for us is straight bark mulch when potting up. We use a medium grade of Douglas fir and Hemlock bark with some larger pieces mixed in and a slow release fertilizer in spring. This mix allows for excellent drainage and air flow to the root system without becoming compacted or water-logged. 

1# 'Beni otaki' Acer palmatum: This graceful maple has a bamboo-like appearance with deeply dived long narrow leaves. The spring color is bright red, summer foliage reddish-purple then turning crimson in fall. While this beautiful maple can reach a good size with time, it's fairly slow growing and can be maintained with pruning. Makes a nice maple for large containers or as specimen tree. Best color in full or afternoon sun.

2# Empereor one: Acer palmatum: A large growing Japanese maple similar to Bloodgood in appearance but much bigger. Fairly fast growing with a wide canopy and beautiful deep reddish-purple foliage in summer. A attractive addition to the landscape but not suitable for very small gardens. Plant in full sun or partial shade.

3# Fireglow: Acer palmatum: Shrub-like tree with dense branching. Slow growing it reaches a height of about 16'-21' at maturity or sometimes higher. Bright red spring color, turning a wine-red in summer. It's the fall color that gives this maple its name a fiery glowing red. Well it retains the summer color well in afternoon shade it will affect the fall color.

4# Oshio beni: Acer palmatum: Different describes this outstanding colored maple. Shrub-like, it's slow growing and reaches a height of 16'-20' tall at maturity. The broad leaves are bright red in spring and turns a unique reddish-orange in summer, the fall color is a outstanding glowing red. This maple needs afternoon sun to show off its unique color. The slow growth makes it suitable for small gardens or large containers.  

5# Pixie: Acer palmatum: Pixie is another new cultivar available on the market today, thought to be a sport from  Bloodgood. This densely branched dwarf matures to a height of about 6.5' tall and wide. The bright pink-reddish spring leaves are deeply dived and turn a deep red in summer. Fall color is a bright crimson, this small maple is suitable for any small garden, large rockery or containers.  

6# Purple ghost: Acer palmatum:  Still fairly rare and hard to find, this outstanding maple has very unusual color, growing to about 10'-12' tall with a rounded form. The glowing red with darker veins is stunning in the spring, turning a darker color in summer and finishing in fall a fiery orange and scarlet. This is a must have for the Japanese maple collector and suitable for small gardens or large containers.

7# Red pygmy: Acer palmatum: Dwarf vase-shaped form becoming rounded when older, reaching 8' tall x 5'-6' wide at maturity. The strap-like leaves are very long and narrow and divided to the base. Color in the spring and fall is reddish-orange, turning dark green and then deep purple for the summer. A very hardy dwarf maple suitable for small gardens or containers. This little maple is quite happy in both sun or partial shade.

8# Sherwood flame: Acer palmatum:  Has a rounded form, reaching 13'-16' tall x 13' wide and densely branched. The deeply dived leaves are an unusual shade of reddish-purple, almost burgundy. This graceful small tree makes a nice addition to any garden or in large containers. Best color in full or afternoon sun.

9# Trompenburg: Acer palmatum: Unique is the word for this tree, reaching 20'-26' tall x 13'-16' wide. The deeply dived seven to nine lobed leaves are a glossy dark purple in summer and very distinctive because the edges are curled inward. Add bright crimson fall color and you have a very attractive large Japanese maple. Fairly rapid growing I don't recommend it for containers or small gardens. Best color in full or afternoon sun.

10# Yubea: Acer palmatum: Densely branched, shrub-like tree reaching 16'-20' tall at maturity, definitely a slow grower so that will take some time. The attractive smaller leaves are very dark red to maroon color. Grow in full or afternoon sun for best color. While the fall color is not as notable as some of the other purple varieties, the very dark summer foliage sets this maple apart from the rest.




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