During this time of year when so many trees and shrubs have lost their leaves, evergreens play an important part in your garden. The Hinoki cypress (chamaecyparis obtusa) is one good example. The false cypress has many varieties developed by the Japanese where it is native.
Edmonds in Bloom chose a dwarf Hinoki Cypress when they landscaped the south side of the main building of the Edmonds Center for the Arts. They planted it in a place with Art Deco additions to the building. They did not want to obscure the decorations with a tree that would grow too tall. Fortunately, Edmonds gardeners have many good choices in varying sizes.
Another good evergreen is the mountain hemlock (tsuga mertensiana), a native of the higher elevations of Washington. At sea level, this hemlock stays much smaller. It grows slowly and takes 20 years or so to reach 20 feet. The silhouette of this tree gives the Northwest evergreen look we love in the Pacific Northwest. But it will not overwhelm a small garden.
There is a special beauty in the winter where we notice the shape and bark of a tree and appreciate the trees with red branches. This may be the time to add to the beauty of your winter garden.
— By Barbara Chase
Barbara Chase is a Master Gardener who serves on the City of Edmonds Citizens Tree Board.