PLANTS WITH COLORFUL OR UNUSUAL FOLIAGE are as beautiful as plants with colorful flowers and fruit. The main advantage to choosing a plant for its decorative foliage is that it lasts longer than flowers or fruit, and when it’s an evergreen the show can last year-round.
CONSIDER ADDING A BEAUTIFUL EVERGREEN like Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Vintage Gold’ Japanese falsecypress to your garden. It can bring a sunny spot to life no matter what the season. Always keep in mind the mature size before planting as this is a plant that is often placed too close to other plants, walks, and driveways.
MOST CHAMAECYPARIS VARIETIES GROW QUITE LARGE, even 30 feet or more. Fortunately, there are lots of new modern dwarf varieties like Vintage Gold that are considerably smaller. Vintage Gold grows only 6 to 8 feet tall and spreads only 3 to 5 feet wide.
ITS GOLDEN YELLOW FOLIAGE is quite distinct and is its most colorful when grown in full sun, but it is tolerant of light shade. The foliage is soft, flat, and almost feathery or fern-like. This poses a challenge when pruning is necessary, so it is best to plant in a location where it can be allowed to grow naturally and never or rarely pruned.
PLANT IT SINGLY OR IN SMALL GROUPS in a location that has good soil but excellent drainage. Once established, you will find that it can be very drought-tolerant. Use it as an accent plant or as if you were placing a sculpture in the garden. Having views of it from more than one angle and not crowding it around other plants will allow you to enjoy its shape and color to its fullest, particularly in the winter.
SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.
ASK THE GARDENER
by Angie McManus
Q When can I cut my rose bush back?
A In general, the best time to prune rose bushes is during the late winter into early spring months before the new growth begins. During this time your rose will be dormant, which makes it less susceptible to winter injury and other potential problems. This is especially true if you are pruning to control for size.
As a general rule, it is best not to remove more than one-third of the size of the rose at one time. If you need to drastically reduce the size of your rose, take off one-third each year and do this year after year to maintain the size you want.
Be sure to use a clean, sharp, and rust-free pair of pruners. Make your cuts flush to the nearest intersecting branch so there are no stubs.
Old-fashioned climbing roses that bloom one time produce flowers on the previous season’s growth, so prune these after they flower. For climbers that bloom more than once, prune while dormant.
If your reason for pruning your roses is to remove dead, diseased, or crossing canes, go ahead and get your pruners out now. Good sanitation practices are always important in terms of the health of our plants so be sure to clean up.
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