I recently posted an update on the grown-from-seed tree seedlings that I've been nurturing for the past few years and included the oak trees that are from acorns that I collected last Fall . Last year, I collected a variety of tree species - various oaks, chestnuts and even an Illinois Pecan and stashed them in the fridge to cold stratify. That lead me to what I'd describe as 'mixed' results. I have had quite a few seeds turn into seedlings, but because it was a mixed-bag, I am (somewhat) guessing on the variety of the tree and where I picked it from (a park? Our block? Up in Wisconsin?) when I took the acorns. But, I've enjoyed that seedling-growing process. So, this year, I'm simplifying things. I'm only going to keep ONE variety of acorns over winter. What tree is that, you might be asking? The answer is: I'm not sure. But, I do, indeed, know that it is a columnar oak tree that is planted along Maple Avenue near downtown Downers Grove.
Showing posts with the label columnar trees
How do our Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam Trees look this season? Like this photo below- showing the green foliage covering the upright, columnar habit of these trees planted along the northside of our property as a screen between our house and our neighbor's property. You can see part of the gable of our neighbor's house at the top of the photo below: One of the most comment questions that I get on the blog is from someone making a comment asking about these trees. Things like: How do they look now? Any update? How far are they spaced? Someone (locally...who grew up in Naperville, but current lives in Barrington and is planning on putting up some Frans Fontaine Hornbeams in their yard) just posted a comment on this post - asking how they're doing . Last Summer I posted a detailed history of the trees - showing their growth and how they closed in the last remaining gaps between the trees. I have not pruned these at all - other than the random branch or two tha
2023 appears to be an 'on year' in terms of evergreen growth on our small Weeping White Spruce in the backyard. The photo below shows the flush of greenish-blue needles that have grown out this Spring on and are covering the tree. It also shows the slightest bit of apical meristem growth (hooray!), potentially signal'ing that we can get this tree back on the right path vertically-speaking. I planted this small tree all the way back in 2019 - which means this is the fourth growing season - and the tree has NOT GROWN in height at all. I'd say that this tree is just about the exact same size (height-wise) that it was when I planted it. The tip of the tree is below the top of the lower fence (and it was when I planted it). I've documented this tree over the years and we had a pretty significant setback in 2021 - when the drought got to it an I saw quite a bit of needle drop a dead limbs . The tree had shrunk about half-in-size after losing needles. But, by Fa
Our hedge of Frans Fontaine Columnar Hornbeam trees is waking up for Spring and has begun to leaf-out all over the trees. The last time that I looked at these trees was earlier this (late) Winter, when all of the trees were still clinging to some of their previous-season's leaves (something called foliar marcescence). The screening that comes from planting these Frans Fontaine Hornbeams along the property line is starting to come into focus this growing season as the small leaves are opening from their buds. Below, is a photo showing the current (mid/late April) state in our yard in Northern Illinois (Zone 5b). And, here below, is a look at the leaf from the Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam (Fastigata). They are curled and ribbed with a hob-like flower/fruit on the trees It won't be long until they fill-in for the year - check this post to see what these trees look like mid-Summer (July 2022) where they're screening our neighbor's yard. These trees were planted
There comes a time in the Spring when the allure of the big box nursery becomes too strong. Normally...I can rely on my 'plan' and walk away without buying things that don't have a home. But, when I came face-to-face with this pallet of (what I'll call) unique evergreen trees (or...at the *very least*...these are unique for big box stores), I was smitten. There were like five different conifers - each with some unique characteristic. Upright, golden, columnar, weeping. Just...*chef's kiss*. They were all priced the same, but the one that I was most drawn-to was this one below: A closer look at the tag reveals what it is (photo below): Pinus sylvestris - Scotch Pine Columnar. "Columnar". You have my attention. A little look around the Web reveals the true name for this tree: Pinus sylvestris 'Fastigiata'. Utah State has one in their arboretum . They describe it like this: "This Scotch Pine is a tall and narrow pine. Like other Scotc
Seven-or-so weeks ago, I wrote a post and shared a photo of the stand of Frans Fontaine Columnar Hornbeam trees that we have planted as a hedge and talked about how the trees had been holding their leaves late into December . That ability or characteristic of a deciduous holding onto dry, desiccated leaves called foliar marcescence and for some trees - like these Frans Fontaine European Hornbeams is actually a feature. It allows for trees like this to provide a bit of privacy screening even in Winter when most every other tree has shed their leaves during dormancy. We've had different experiences with the leaves holding on for different lengths of time during different years. But, what about now? In mid-February 2023? What do the trees look like. See below. They're *still* holding on to their dry leaves. This is the latest they've gone in this state and I'm really finding it interesting to see them show-off a little bit in this way. Is it a thick and lush
The most recent check-in on our Frans Fontaine Columnar Hornbeam trees was in November when all of out trees were still showing green foliage and outlasting - in terms of holding leaves - most everything else in our yard . Where are they today - three weeks in December? Well....they're ALL still holding leaves. But, some more than other. And...all the leaves are dry and desiccated. See below for the current view of the trees. The tops are thin, but the middles are *still* providing some level of screening between our house and then neighbors. Pretty nice for a deciduous tree, right? This ability to hold their dried leaves through marcescence - is one of the key features of the Frans Fontaine Hornbeam trees and helps make them even more desirable for screening beyond just the Summer months.
At the top of this post is a look at the row of Frans Fontaine Fastigiate Hornbeam trees that we planted back in 2018 along the northern border of our property. These trees were planted as a screen between our backyard, our screened porch and our neighbor's house. When we put them in, our neighbors to the norther were in a small ranch that was set pretty far back from the property line. A few years back, a new house was built and the screening was needed more than ever. [NOTE: If you are here reading about the really amazing Frans Fontaine Columnar Hornbeam Trees and want to know the full history we've had with planting a row of eight of them, you can head to this post from August of 2021 that includes links to their full history dating back to being planted in 2018. Alternatively, you can poke around at this [ Frans Fontaine ] post tag. Or start here with my post showing them being planted as 2" caliper trees in 2018.] The last time that I documented these Frans
Every year, we go on a little vacation to Wisconsin or somewhere else where we find ourselves away from our house for a number of weeks in a row. Each year, I try to set up an irrigation system that provides enough water to allow for the plants, shrubs and trees - as well as the grass - to simply survive. In most years, we usually get a LITTLE lucky and get a rain event once or twice while we're gone and most everything survives. Last year, we went on vacation in the middle of the Summer and weren't lucky enough to have that rain event. Couple that with a REALLY dry Spring (Drought) and my sprinkler setup not covering EVERYTHING and we have things die out. One of the specimens who suffered last year was the Weeping White Spruce columnar tree that is planted on the southside of our beds, near the Lindens that are espalier'd. By mid-July last year, it was showing a bunch of needle drop - when we came back from vacation . And by September, it had gotten worse. Dead b
Yesterday, I posted a photo and took a HUGE, deep breath and walked past a second Japanese White Pine tree that I saw at the big box nursery . Why did I have to take a breath? Because, I *really* wanted one of those trees. Why did I walk past it? Because I bought one last year. And it seems to have failed this Winter. But, what else did I see on that VERY SAME visit? A tree that - like the Japanese White Pine - is also something that I've lusted after for a while. In fact, I even posted an entire "Tree Dreaming" post about this species on the blog back in 2018. What's that tree? It is a columnar Norway Spruce - Picea abies 'Cupressina'. Here's that post from 2018 . Here - below - is the tag on one of these that I saw at the big box nursery showing the $99 price tag. Back in 2018, I said that there was A LOT to like about this tree: columnar, vertical, fast(ish) and unique. At the time, I also said that it could withstand snow loads, but a
Yesterday, I shared a couple of photos of the very young Japanese White Pine tree that has a ton of brown and orange needles . The tree is either in severe decline and will be dead soon. Or, it is going through a normal process of needle drop to get ready for some new Spring growth. I have no idea. I *do* know that the tree was stressed before I planted it and the cones were already present at the top - indicating that (I think) the tree was concerned for its own wellbeing, so it threw out a good crop of cones based on the size of the tree. In that post, I mentioned that the small (and adjacent) Weeping White Spruce appears to have stabilized after suffering some heavy drought damage this Summer. It seems like the needle loss has stopped and the remaining sections are green and well-connected. I shared a mid-Summer update on this tree where you can see the needle loss, but when you compare the photos from September to now , it is clear that even more needles were dropped in the
A few days ago, I received a new comment from a reader of my garden diary on this post all the way back in late May 2018 titled: " Frans Fontaine Hornbeam Planted - Hedgerow Spring 2018 ". That post shows the eight columnar European Hornbeam trees that had been delivered and were being planted in our back and side yard to create (at that time, what I hoped to be) a privacy screen. The comment - from JennyW - is here below: I've talked this before, but I write this daily online diary because I get joy out of doing it. I don't run advertisements. I don't run sponsored content. I also write for a pretty narrow audience - mostly myself. I also look at the analytics data and know that there are really three audiences - in declining size order: 1. The largest part of the audience: (mostly) one-time search readers (they search for something, click on the link and end up at my blog). 2. Second biggest audience: Referral. This means that people are reading so
One of the things that I had on my 2021 to-do list (#25) was to 'buy a conifer of meaning' . I feel like I *did that* when I planted the Weeping Nootka Falsecypress that I bought this Spring from Wannemakers. That was the 55th tree planted in total since we bought the lot and the third of this year. And after cleaning up the full list this Spring , I had 34 alive. We then added this Emperor 1 Japanese Maple - bringing total to 56 total, 35 alive. Fourth tree for the 2021 season. Since then, I planted two Harvest Gold Hargozam crabapple trees as replacements in our Belgian Fence espalier - but I didn't include them in the 'official count'. So, I'm doing that now. 58 total, 37 alive, six trees for the 2021 season. Which brings me to the tree in this post #59 total, 38 'alive' and seventh tree of the 2021 growing season: another conifer 'of meaning'. A dwarf Japanese White Pine. I've been thinking/dreaming/watching/considering a