foliage takes its turn

‘Thunderhead’ pine today

Here’s what my ‘Thunderhead’ pine looks like today, backed by Cotinus ‘Purple Robe’. Back in January, I wrote of the damage it suffered in the winter storm here. There are two of these at Joy Creek Nursery. One has been allowed to grow up, while the other sprawls like mine. I was in a quandary, because I liked the sprawling habit, but hated to sacrifice the “candles” (it is by breaking them off that one forces it to sprawl). Then Mom Nature stepped in and did what I could not.

a closer look at ‘Thunderhead’

Here’s a closer look.

a “candled” tip

And closer still, showing a tip that I have “candled”, meaning I pinched out the growing tip.

candle left intact

And another where the candle has been left intact. It will grow longer and more dramatic before it bursts into a fresh new group of needles. I have decided that the best of both worlds is possible by leaving just a few to follow nature’s edict while imposing my will on the rest.

puzzling hammemelis

Now here’s a puzzle that I’m hoping you foliage fanatics can help solve. See the yellow leaves above and the reddish ones below? Those are all on the same tree. Last year, when Hamemelis intermedia ‘Diane’ bloomed, it only did so on the lower branches. I assumed that they were simply more mature and the upper branches would eventually catch up. Now it is obvious that this tree has a split personality.

close-up of the flowers on upper part

The top part is blooming now, with these yellow flowers. I would embrace them if they were fragrant, but they are not. Any ideas? ‘Diane’ is the tree I want. Do you think if I cut out all of the new growth she might recover her dominance? I see no sign of a graft on the trunk.

Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’

One last thing, before I send you over to Pam’s for Foliage Follow-up. I’ve been showing you the wonderful cones that form on Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’. This is what’s left of them after the seeds formed and fell away from that central post. If you have any interest in trying to grow one of these from seed, send me your contact info and I will pop a few into the mail.

11 thoughts on “foliage takes its turn

  1. Wow…that is so bizarre about the Hamemelis…my first thought was that it had been grafted too…maybe it’s reverting at the growing tip??? I’m honestly not sure if they do that…hmmm.

  2. Scott~Know any tree experts? Maybe it’s like some of the more exotic hybrids that seek to revert, in which case I should be able to cut out the offending party. Trouble is, I’ve never had much success with that approach.

    Heather~Bummer that neither has any detectable scent.

  3. I like your approach in candling just some of the ‘Thunderhead’ branches. The Mulch Man has been halving the candles on our Pinus contorta to keep them more compact, and it’s quite fascinating to see the difference it makes. I know nothing about Hamemelis, but I kind of like both parts!

  4. I wonder if you can send the photos to the Master Gardener office or talk to a nursery worker about this. I am as perplexed as you are. It seems like some kind of reversion but what and how, I’m not sure.

    Cool about the Abies cones. They look like little another version of the “candle.”

    Have a wonderful (wet) weekend.

  5. Janet~Do you mean yellow foliage or yellow flowers? I had heard that the yellow flowers were quite fragrant, but not these.

    Jane~I like the idea of the half-measure with the candles. Perhaps I can learn to love my confused Hamemelis.

    Grace~Wish I could remember where the tree was purchased. I’ll try asking Maurice at Joy Creek.

  6. I like the effect of your candled pine, but I can understand how might feel to coax (much too kind a word) it to assume the shape you want. I picked up a book on Japanese pruning methods a couple years ago and was shocked at how radical are some of the techniques that produce growth patterns that look so “natural.” It can seem pretty extreme, but it’s probably no more invasive than making hedges or topiary.

  7. James~We have a very nice Japanese Garden in Portland, and when one looks closely there are an astonishing number of devices employed to get exactly the “right” look. I still have a hard time torturing plants for my own purposes.

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