Interesting Trees and Shrubs


The Eucryphia family.
It’s important to be able to leave a legacy behind, of some structure of good work done which will enhance the community. Bita Duflon and I both loved trees, so please walk through your garden as well as these flavorings, get a sense of what is needed and plant accordingly.

Eucryphia. (intermedia?)
I am not sure of what species or hybrid this is, as most are Japanese Maple size and this guy is much taller. Their amazing feature is the AUGUST bloom period. My first experience with this magnificent tree was at Whitney Gardens in Brinnon WA., circa the mid seventies. This is a magnificent seven acre nursery to visit!
The two-inch white flowers resemble apple blossoms — even in their fragrance! They are August bloomers and the picture to follow is from the same garden I started at, Alton Duflon’s, in Sequim WA. The tree will grow in full sun or light shade. It prefers well-drained soils, preferably on the acid side. This New Zealand/Chilean native dislikes hot, dry summer weather but thrives near the coast. Once established it is hardy into the teens.

The following picture is a closeup of the flowers.

 Eucryphia closeup
 This ancient species is a survivor of Gondwanaland, combination of Australia, Antartica, Australia and parts of South Africa. New Zealand was not in the dance. Nonethess, Eucryphias survived in Tasmana and in Chili. Their brethren in Antarctica, as well as Nothofagus (Antarctic Beech) survive only as fossil remains.

There are two main species. Eucryphia glutinosa which is the hardiest of the species. It originates from Chili. Size variation is to be expected.

Eucryphia lucida is a more tender tree and is hardy only in the most protected of localities in our climate zone. Some blossoms can be pink.

E. x intermedia is a cross between these two species and is usually quite hardy. It thrives in this Dungeness garden of Rhododendrons and competes quite well with the knuckle bruiser Bay laurel it was paired with.


Not a willow shape in the classic sense but a graceful blue-wispy accent or border plant for the garden. Compact and refined it is easily shaped by pruning. Bonsai material even. I love the way it sways gracefully in a breeze, definitely an ornamental and can be used in hedges or in clumps. Its blueish foliage lends wonderfully with the burnt coppery tones of cryptomeria.

Salix purpurea ‘Nana’, is a fast grower and it will tolerate wet soil conditions. This shrub can be used individually, in clumps or even as a hedge, the slender, upright stems which makes for a soft looking shrub which waves beautifully in the wind. To keep it looking its best, provide regular pruning. The blue-green leaves are very attractive on the mounded shape. A fine textured shrub, with slender and supple twigs that can be used to make baskets


Autumn color — Parrotia persica

Parrotia closeup
Parrotia persica — Persian Parrotia
Essentially this is an upgraded form of the witch-hazel. Normaly it grows as a low-branched tree, typically two-thirds as broad as it is tall. I prefer to prune it up to a single trunked tree! Bark exfoliates as it ages and the leaves turn brilliant red, yellow and orange in autumn.

This is a must have for the fall garden! This really is one my favorite trees. The other might be Acer griseum! The slow growing Persian ironwood is one tough little tree. It is virtually free of pests and diseases, and tolerates acidic to alkaline soils, heat, drought, wind, urban air pollution and soil compaction. Best autumn color is produced on specimens growing in acidic soil in full sun.
The red flowers resemble the native witch hazel of N. America. They are mostly yellow!

Zones 5-8
Acer griseum- Paperbark Maple
(Among the rich variety of cultivated maples, this one is distinguished by its peeling tissue-thin coppery bark. Leaves turn orange and scarlet in fall. Easily grown. Recipient of the God Medal Plant Award by the Pennsylvania Horticultral Society. Heritage

 Parrotia bark


With a dignified, rounded form, dramatically flaking mahogany colored bark that peels to expose the cinnamon hues beneath, and rich green trifoliate leaves that blaze to a brilliant red each fall, China’s Paper-bark Maple is a splendid specimen for just about any place in your garden. This Maple requires well drained soil, and will tolerate sun, shade or wind, but never drought.
Noted most especially for its winter beauty, Acer griseum grows slowly to 20-30′ x 15-20′.
Enkianthus campanulatus-Redvein Enkianthus


This is a very prune-able shrub with heather-like flowers born in clusters in May. Slender branches complement the small leaves, giving the shrub a delicate texture. Its best use is to add variety to the company of azaleas, and green blobby rhododendrons, kalmia, and camellias. Prefers acidic soil and part shade. It can take full sun, but will have to be well watered and cared for. In some areas of the country it can have incredible fall color.
E. cerneus is larger and has a deeper red flower. Sadly I have only one plant.

Heptacodium miconioides -summer blooming


Heptacodium miconioides — a recent introduction from China.

This multi- stemmed tree bears distinctive small white flowers in the spring and red autumn flowers. The exfoliating bark make this an excellent bonsai possibility. It has all the ornamental features necessary to be a prized, useful, and well accepted landscape plant. This large shrub or small tree performs at a time when most other plants are at their worst. It is another summer bloomer creamy white, fragrant flowers. In autumn the flowers are replaced by an autumn show of cherry red. There is no fall color but the bark is interesting in its own right . Zones 5-8

Another interesting summer blooming tree is:

 Xanthoceras sorbifolium — Yellowhorn
The hardiest member of an otherwise tropical plant family . Ranges in size fronm 10-15 ft.and is surprisingly drought tolerant. It has fine clusters of white flowers with yellow blotches at the base. Native to China.

Xanthoceras sorbifolium — Yellowhorn
The hardiest member of an otherwise tropical plant family . Ranges in size fronm 10-15 ft.and is surprisingly drought tolerant. It has fine clusters of white flowers with yellow blotches at the base. Native to China.
Zones 4-7
A few other interesting shrubs and trees. Cotinus coggyria purpurea  Purple Smoketree.

 Smoke tree
 This picture came from a Dungeness garden that I have worked on for some decade or so. The hydrangea is pink as there are so many middens of shells from the native inhabitants. Both plants are in a decline due to the Eucalyptus not shown just to the right. Trees like that can suck water from more than their height throughout the garden. This tree is doing that. Both of these shrubs are now toast.

Deep purple leaves which hold color throughout the summer. These seedlings have been selected to assure you of receiving plants with uniform, dark purple leaves.

Zones 5-8

Ginkgo biloba –Ducks foot tree

Ginkgo biloba brings back memories of my High School in Oakland. In the front entrance there were three trees, that must have been amongst the first planted in California.The tree trunk is erect and the branches form a dense crown when old. The bark is gray and very cracked. Leaves are fan-shaped and yellowish green. The fall foliage was simply unforgettably GOLD. To this day I still remember sitting on golden cushions during lunch break.

This ancient tree has survived many extinctions and charms us with its unique fan (duckfoot-shaped leaves and butter-yellow to brilliant gold fall color. It is very tolerant of urban pollution and thus I suggest this tree merits greater use. It is for large gardens only! These are seedling grown and might be either male or female. However, one needs both genders to create fruit, so buying one or even two of these would give you a landscape minus fruit drop, which can be nasty. — unless you luck out 🙂 I would guess that you would need at least three trees to get a potential fruit drop problem.

These plants are a vigorous three feet tall!

Zones 4-8

Another ode to Oakland Technical, being the gardener there. I would help him out every now and then and he would give me bulbs in exchange, as well as good company.


The dawn redwood is a deciduous conifer native to China. Thought to have been extinct for millions of years this plant was found growing in a few isolated sites in China in the 1940s. The dawn redwood is a very hardy upright growing tree. It is fast growing at 4 to 6 feet per year and makes for a good lumber tree as well. Plant a forest of them! I planted over a hundred Giant Sequoia on a forestation project here in Sequim, WA. They have really taken off, so will these.

Taxodium distichum


Bald Cypress

A wonderful timber tree valued for its wood decay resistance. This “southern” tree thrives from upstate New York to the high plains of Texas. It is a large tree but this conifer has warm yellow tones in autumn. Trouble free and easy to grow.

(C) 2009 Herb Senft


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Interesting Trees and Shrubs — 1 Comment

  1. “I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. Look at the sun: if there is no sun, then we cannot exist.
    So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred; trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals.”
    Mikhail Gorbachev

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