Gardening With What You Have

Going For Gold

Christine Froehlich 02/18/2016 Comments

Going For Gold


The skies are stubbornly gray here in upstate New York, and the ground is covered with a blanket of snow.  I've  started adding yellow foliaged conifers to my garden to combat this gloomy scenario, and against my better judgement, my fondness for Chamaecyparis, (commonly known as false cypress), led me to add several. I was a little worried that the dry soil in my garden might be too extreme  for them and I was right. Some of them have  ended up looking a little threadbare like this poor thing. 

 chamaecyparis gracilis


By trial and error, I discovered that Chamaecyparis psifera 'Filifer Aurea', commonly known as 'Gold Threads' is  more tolerant of  less than perfect conditions. It  never misses a beat in my zone 5 garden  (hardy in zone 4-9)  and it exudes drooping gold foliage year round. It's aptly named, because when the new growth appears in early summer, the needles truly look like long gold threads! 


              gold threads             foliage

 'Gold Threads' prefers well drained soil, but likes some degree of moisture, so I tucked it into the corner of our house where it receives runoff from the roof. It doesn't appear to be that finicky though, it thrives with infrequent watering in summer and though the site gets gusty winds off the lake, the foliage has not burned.  It does need full sun though, when I first planted this conifer, I put it in partial shade and it promptly faded to a dull lime green.


This small, slow growing shrub is perfect for a small garden or a foundation planting where you need a loose vertical shape that doesn't get too tall-the mature height is about 8 feet. And as you can see here, it combines nicely with other shrubs and perennials.




I appreciate its goldness most in winter though,where its often the only thing I can see rising out of the snowdrifts in my garden.


chamaecyparis 'gold threads'



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