Karen Chapman | , , , , , , , , , , , || By
Through the Seasons
SummerI have noticed significant color variation throughout the summer and even from one year to the next. Typically, by late May the foliage is a blend of rich burgundy, deep purple and dark green, but the proportions of each vary greatly. Regardless, it is always striking and much more colorful than the species.
FallAll I can say is thank goodness for digital photography or this tree would cost me a fortune in film!
WinterI may have purchased this tree for the foliage but the silhouette, bark and winter flowers add to its ornamental value.
Design IdeasIn my own garden I have it combined with tall burgundy tipped grasses and black-eyed Susan's for a meadow-inspired look. Large mossy boulders and a rusted arbor complete the scene that overlooks an open grassy area and meadow beyond. Seen from the front the framing is slightly different with a snag playing into the vignette together with golden spirea and many other foliage colors and textures. (The golden locust tree to the right has since been replaced by a contemporary container seen in more recent images e.g. "summer"). As the tree foliage transitions to gold, I especially like its association with the rusted metal of the arbor. For a completely different look you might prefer to add silver; perhaps giant lambs ears (Stachys 'Bella Grigio'), or a wormwood (Artemisia).
Vital StatisticsMature size: 28'h x 12- 16'w Shape: upright, vase shape Full sun – part shade (best color in full sun) Average, moisture retentive soil Average-low water (I do not have irrigation and rarely give this supplemental water) USDA 4-9
Look familiar?This post is an updated edition of one I wrote for another blog on August 16th 2016. It has been such a popular post that I still receive emails about it, inquiring if it has continued to thrive and grow as expected. I therefore decided that it was time for an update both in terms of habit and images. Incidentally, this tree has now also been featured in two of my books!
Growth rateSo here we are three years on and yes it is still be favorite tree in our garden! It is currently ~ 14 feet high and 11 feet wide and still maintains an upright vase shape. Note that in today's photos (under "fall") the leaves have already fallen from the uppermost branches, suggesting a more rounded profile than it really has.
Deer ResistanceThe deer rarely bother it, nibbling a convenient branch as they stroll past on occasional years. Parrotia is not included on the Rutgers list, but I would rate this as B. (My Parrotia persica (the species rather than a cultivar) in a more open position gets nibbled rather more but still not severely damaged.)
Drought toleranceThis has not received any supplemental water for the past three years.
Where to buyI always advocate buying locally as you are more likely to find a well-adapted specimen (to your climate). Ask for it at your local nursery – many will try to order it for you. There seem to be some online sources now too, such as this one and this one, although I have no experience with either of these and cannot specifically recommend them.
Welcome to My Garden Adventures
I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.