ADDING WINTER COLOUR
With many plants in the garden slipping into dormancy, it’s the form and structure of deciduous shrubs and evergreens which bring the garden to life in the winter. Regardless of the setting there are some fabulous conifers which will add colour and form to the winter garden.
Cryptomerias are among my favourites because of their interesting and colourful foliage which often changes in winter. C. japonica ‘Elegans’ is a good example; this attractive tree has foliage with a featherlike appearance which turns from a bright green in summer to a bronzy-purple throughout the winter. It reaches around 4-6m at maturity so needs to be given some space to grow.
If space is limited there is also a smaller variety, C.j. ‘Elegans Compacta’ which grows to less than half this height. C.j. ‘Spiralis’ is another unusual Cryptomeria commonly known as ‘grannies’ ringlets’.
It forms a slow-growing mound of branches with needles twisted and curved around them. It stays bright green all year growing to a height and spread of 1.2m-1.5m. A more upright growing Cryptomeria and one of the most popular is C.j. ‘Sekkan-sugi’. This graceful conical growing conifer has semi-pendulous branches with soft bright creamy-yellow young growth in spring darkening to green in summer with bronze hints in winter.
Cryptomerias grow best in a position sheltered from cold winds and enjoy moist but well-drained humus-rich soil.
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Spiralis’