Articles in Category: Trees
A Winter Jewel in the Landscape
‘Red Jewel’ Crabapple consistently appears on the lists of “best crabapples for the home gardener”, and it’s easy to see why. These compact little trees (15’ tall by about 12’ wide) have a nice, upright pyramidal shape, are relatively undemanding to grow, and are highly disease resistant.
In the spring, soft pinkish buds open to produce clouds of snowy white, fragrant blossoms. But the thing that really makes ‘Red Jewel’ such a standout in the landscape is hinted at by its name. In the fall, brilliant red fruits appear – and they linger on the tree long after most other crabapple fruits have browned and been devoured by winter flocks of robins and cedar waxwings.
Photos of these fruits really don’t do them justice. Looking at them on a foggy winter day here at the nursery, they almost seem to glow. For an extra dramatic effect, try planting Red Jewel in front of a line of conifers or other evergreens. You’ll find the dark green foliage contrasts beautifully with the cherry-red crabapple fruit!
‘Red Jewel’ is one of a handful of crabapple varieties that birds tend to not eat – which is probably one of the reasons the fruits can linger on into spring during mild winters (‘Prairie Fire’ and ‘Snowdrift’ are both good options if you are looking for a crabapple that attracts birds).
Vanderwolf's Pyramid Limber Pine
The 'Vanderwolf' Pine has proven itself a good conifer choice for a hot, dry spot; one that won't get too large and has soft, two-toned needles. This western North American native Pine can tolerate our dry, hot summers and wet winters.
Well drained soil, including dry, rocky hillsides, will help it tolerate those conditions even better. We have especially been attracted to it because it doesn't have the scratchy quality of most conifers, you can get close to it and enjoy the soft blue and green needles. 'Vanderwolf' has a more open habit than some other sheared looking conifers when young but gets denser with age and can be used as an effective screen, a specimen position, or looks great in groups of three.
It is difficult to pin down a mature size on the 'Vanderwolf' but it is slower growing so it is useful in smaller spaces. It can get 20-25' tall and 10-15' wide but it seems to get taller more quickly than it gets wide. Like most pines, it only needs occasional watering once established and this variety is more disease and pest resistant than some other pine species. Also, like most pines, Vanderwolf's Pine is deer resistant.
Persimmons are the fruit you didn't know you needed. So decorative! So versatile! And fall color as a bonus in an edible tree. Asian Persimmons are the main type for home gardeners to grow, even though there are American Persimmons (just not as edible). There are astringent types (used for cooking and eaten soft and fruits have a pointed bottom), and the non-astringent types (can be eaten fresh when firm or soft and fruits have a flat bottom). See below for the main types we carry. The non-astringent varieties can keep for 3 weeks at room temperature while the astringent varieties need to be used right away. Dried Persimmon is a delectable treat that can add vitamin A and C and beta ceratine to your winter days. Persimmons can be used in baked goods and there are lots of recipes out there showing ways to use this gorgeous fruit.
Persimmons are self fertile so you can get away with one tree and offer vibrant orange fall color. They are one of the last fruits to harvest in the late fall, usually October even into November. Trees can typically get 20-25' tall and wide and are not super fast growing. They appreciate a well draining soil and full sun. Most Asian Persimmons are hardy to zone 7. Plase them so you can enjoy the glowing orange pumpkin like fruit hanging from bare branches in late fall.
There are many varieties of late blooming almonds if you were thinking our springs are too cold to grow these wonderful nuts. Nuts are a beneficial addition to the home orchard because they have so many uses- in baking, butters, and roasting, and are easy to store. Besides the crunchy and nutritious nuts, Almonds have beautiful and fragrant white to light pink flowers, usually coinciding with the ornamental plum and cherry blooms of early spring. Like peaches, they will perform best in a protected spot; ideally away from cold winds or cold air sinks. Hope for a fairly frost free spring for best flower and nut production! However, almonds perform wonderfully in our summer heat. Once established they require moderate water, a deep soak every couple of weeks is best; as all fruit trees like good drainage and no standing water. The late blooming Almonds are cold hardy to negative 20 degrees once established, with 'All in One' being a little less cold hardy- Zone 8 is best. They will produce nuts typically 2-3 years after planting and are naturally semi-dwarf (typically 15-20' in height but can be pruned smaller), perfect for smaller yards. Come early for the best selection!
The varieties we like are: