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Columnar Beauties

Gardeners with small plots can enjoy growing modern trees that have been especially bred to be narrow.

columnar beauties

Photo: Jim, the Photographer (flickr)

Columnar apple trees.

Gardeners with small plots, or even with space on a deck, can enjoy growing modern trees that have been especially bred to be small and/or slow growing. Especially suitable are the small trees that have been bred to be narrow as well as short. These look like columns so, not surprisingly, they are described as columnar trees.

One that looks perfect in a small courtyard, or any other spot where a small tree is needed, is magnolia ‘Sunspire’, which grows 20 feet tall but only 6 feet wide and has butter-yellow blooms late enough to escape damage from spring  frosts.

Another, an upright Chinese dogwood, Cornus kousa ‘Snow Tower’, grows only 4-6 feet tall and a columnar flowering crab ‘Velvet Pillar’ tops out at 6 feet.

I lust after a Liquidamber ‘Slender Silhouette’ and also a columnar purple beech, which I recently saw in a neighbor’s zone 5 garden.

And I am determined to order a Laburnum golden chain tree with a narrow upright form and short pendulous flower clusters. It’s a hybrid that would make a striking accent in my garden. But where can I possibly find the space even for it?

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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