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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – January 9

Every year about this time my husband will say, “Are you sure that tree on the side of the yard is OK?” He’s talking about my Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’. This Japanese cedar is a lovely light green color all summer, but in the winter the foliage turns brown.

Some catalogs and on-line sources say that ‘Yoshino’ turns slightly bronze, a bronzy-green or even purple-red in the cold season but don’t be fooled. It is brown, brown, brown, giving my husband every right to question whether it is living or dead.

I’ve made my peace with this change of color. Sure, I’d prefer to see a green or purple-red plant when I look out my bedroom window, but winter is a tough season and many of us, people and plants, just aren’t at our best right now.

I read about cultivars such as ‘Kitayama’ and ‘Mignone’ that supposedly aren’t prone to winter “bronzing” and if I saw these in a nursery I’d probably buy one. Still, the ‘Yoshino’ is doing well on the side, and as long as it thrives I won’t replace it. Part of the fun of gardening and life is learning to love something in its entirety, imperfections and all.

Bronzy-green my ass.

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