EDP Norfolk - - GARDEN GUIDE -

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’

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