In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
January, 2001
Regional Report

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Golden false cypress foliage brings a ray of sunshine to a snowy day.

Colorful Evergreens

If you look closely at the winter landscape, you will notice that so-called evergreens are not necessarily green at all. It's also been a revelation for me to think of evergreens as anything but purely utilitarian. Today's evergreens can do more than block an ugly view or blunt the wind. They're downright attractive!

Chameleon Evergreens

Not only do evergreens come in different colors, some even change color between summer and midwinter. You may notice that some of the arborvitaes in your neighborhood have turned brown or that some of the Colorado blue spruces look bluer than before. It is not your imagination

The Rheingold arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Rheingold'), for instance, is featured for its unique ability to change from gold to copper and then back to gold by the next summer. Many junipers are quick-change artists, too. You may see a ground-cover juniper blushing purple or a knee-high spreading juniper shifting toward bronze for the colder months. These changes add winter interest to the landscape and can be very attractive, as long as the winter hue doesn't clash with the color of your house.

Year-Round Gold

Some evergreens are colorful year round. Many varieties, such as Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera Aurea', have been selected specifically for their unusual coloration. That one has bright, unabashedly yellow foliage, making an especially dramatic statement against winter snow. A large accent shrub (15 to 20 feet tall), its color serves as a ready reminder of summer's goldenrods and black-eyed Susans, marigolds and sunflowers, and hints of the daffodils to come. Plus, it stays just as eye dazzling all summer.


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