Using Sky Real-Estate, or Upright and Uptight is the Way to Go

Ok, so I do have a love affair with upright and uptight plants.  In smaller gardens, air space needs some volume – so let’s go up.  Let’s compare three similar plants today that grow tall and skinny. 

I started out using Ilex crenata “Sky Pencil”.  This is a Japanese Holly that looks good when you first buy it but it just can’t hack winters.  It starts to lose inner branches and look flea-bitten.  Out with you. 

So now I use Buxus ‘Graham Blandy’.  This is aboxwood and maintains itself remarkably during the winters.  The medium-sized glossy leaves are a good attribute as well as remaining pretty tight-growing and full.  We often think of boxwoods as a clipped hedge, but here the boxwood can stand alone.  This is my new love.                                          

But then there is the Thuja occidentalis ‘DeGroot’s Spire’.  I am not a fan of Arborvitae, but like I said, upright and uptight is ok with me.  So this Arborvitae stays quite tight and dense.  It will get to be more like 10’ to 15’ tall and is a duller green, but is a winner.  And less expensive.   

What’s not to like with these three plants?  What would you pick for your garden?