Some upright specimen evergreens form crisp, erect pillars of symmetrical form. These are perfect for more formal gardens, but they can look a little out of place in casual, modern gardens, where there needs to be more focus on the plants themselves, and less on the geometry of the garden. There are, however, some upright evergreens that are anything but formal in shape, but still take up very little horizontal space in the garden. This makes them ideal for a smaller garden, where to get enough variety, each plant cannot take up too much room.
The Weeping Giant Redwood is one of the premium plants in this category. It will grow into a tall, upright evergreen tree, yet it needs very little horizontal room. It is anything but ‘formal’ – in fact this is one of the most eccentric trees around, and has been compared by some to Casper the Friendly Ghost. It begins to grow straight up, then seems to change its mind, looping over and then growing upward again. The branches decide to hang down, adding to the interest, and in the soft light of early evening it can be hard to decide what this strange creature in your garden actually is! Yet it is also graceful and elegant, with its unique mix of upright habit and downward sweeping branches, so it makes a dramatic specimen and feature in your garden.
The Weeping Giant Redwood grows to at least 25 feet tall, and eventually taller, but for its entire life it is only 3 or 4 feet wide. It grows well from zone 6 into warmer areas, so it tolerates winter temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees, remaining lush and green throughout the winter months. Although not fast-growing, even when young this tree is attractive and interesting, so you will be captivated by it as it gradually develops into a grand specimen in your garden. Place it near a water feature or a pool. Use it a natural garden with other informal plantings. It has all the Zen characteristics suitable for an Asian-themed garden too, so there are few places it will not look great. This plant is not offered for sale very often, so it will be a unique feature and a great talking point with family, friends and neighbors.
The Giant Redwood, Sequoiadendron giganteum, is the famous ‘Big Tree’ that grows naturally only in a very limited area on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Trees have been shown to live for 3,500 years, and they can reach heights of 300 feet. At ground level the trunks have been measured up to 27 feet across. The weeping form called ‘Pendulum’ is very much smaller and more suitable for gardens. It was found originally in a nursery in Nantes, France in 1863. Although known for a long time, it remains rare in gardens, because it takes skilled growers to produce new trees. At the Tree Center, we are thrilled to have found a skilled grower to provide us with plants of the Weeping Giant Redwood, and of course this tree is nothing like the regular giant redwood, and should not be confused with it. It has a unique growing habit. The central stem grows upright for a while, then curves over, causing new shoots to develop along the curved area, most of which hang down in a curtain, but one of which will usually grow upwards to repeat the process. This looping, curving growth gives a very special character to the tree.
Plant your Weeping Giant Redwood in a sunny spot, in soil enriched with organic material. Keep it well-watered, especially in the first years, but also later during dry periods. It will grow well in most soils, and does best in area that are not too hot and humid during the summer months. It has no significant pests or diseases and it is normally not eaten by deer. It needs no special care to become a dramatic and spectacular feature in your garden, but it may be helpful to provide a tall stake for the first few years, to keep the central stem growing upwards to a good height, before the tree continues to do that for itself – in its own eccentric way.
This very special tree is rarely offered for sale, even at specialist nurseries, so we know that our supplies will not last. To have something very special, but easy to grow, bring its unique image to your garden, order now, as we do not know when we will be able to offer this tree again.