“Evergreens” of Powell Gardens

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“Evergreens” of Powell Gardens

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru


Powell Gardens is a great place to get ideas for your home landscaping! Evergreen plants offer exceptional winter interest and we have many, many planted throughout the grounds. The above image depicts two of our fine collection of the hardiest cultivars of Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). The tree on the left is the cultivar ‘Edith Bogue’, considered the hardiest and the tree on the right is a selection we made from a tree in Independence we have named ‘Margarite’ after its owner who was so gracious to let us have cuttings. It has a strong pyramidal form and is an abundant bloomer! Southern Magnolias make a fine broadleaf evergreen tree but we are at their northern limit of hardiness so always plant them in a sheltered location and select a proven hardy cultivar. You can see our entire collection of Southern Magnolias by taking a short winter walk around the Visitor Center.


The image above is from our Fountain Garden and depicts the ‘Wintergreen’ cultivar of Chinese Juniper (Juniperus chinensis). This spire-like evergreen has a nice sea green color and is extremely heat and drought tolerant. Our plants have only been in the garden for two seasons but their performance has been stellar. They are growing with Limelight hydrangeas for an exquisite companion at all seasons.


The bluest of evergreens is depicted here! It is the ‘Blue Ice’ cultivar of the Smooth Cypress (Cupressus glabra). This evergreen is listed as hardy in zone 7 by some sources, zone 5 by others — we decided to try it when this plant was offered us by Lanny Rawdon. Our tree has grown fast and has weathered -9F without a scratch. Look for it on the way to the chapel, just past the turnoff to the Rock & Waterfall trolley stop. This tree is native to cold, dry mountaintops in the American Southwest.


No, there is nothing wrong with this “evergreen.” If you want a most unusual conifer try this: ‘Chief Joseph’ Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta). This very rare selection was donated to us by Marvin Snyder, past president of the American Conifer Society. Its needles turn yellow in the winter! When mild spring weather returns, it turns green just like a normal pine. It is a glowing beacon at the north exit of the Visitor Center in the new dwarf conifer garden. A must see for your winter visit to Powel Gardens.

Photos by Alan Branhagen/Thursday, December 20, 2008.