Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Dwarf trees and kale come highly recommended

Dwarf hinoki cypress come highly recommended by noted gardener Ciscoe Morris.

He offers regular horticultural advice on his weekly show Gardening with Ciscoe on Kiro radio, in addition to a television show of the same name that he co-hosts with Meeghan Black.

In an article for the Seattle Times, he explained that he remains a big fan of the perennial plant that looks great.

It is native to Japan, but is now relatively common in North America after being imported in to the country.

Slow growth characterises the trees. While the full-size variety can reach up to 35 m in height and is very narrow, the dwarf plants are typically under between three and four m tall and one ft wide after around ten years of growth.

"Densely covered with dark-green foliage, the branches on this narrow, conical shrub grow in a spiral fashion creating an elegant sculptural effect that contrasts beautifully with low growing perennials and shrubs," Mr Morris commented.

"Grow this beauty in full sun and well-drained soil and let it add its refined grace for years to come," he continued.

The expert added that it is possible to prune dwarf hinoki cypress – also known as 'spiralis' – in order to keep it shorter if this is required for the garden space, or is simply a preference.

Despite this, Mr Morris warned that cutting the top back usually results in a more widely-spread habit than is typical.

He also welcomed the fact that kale is becoming a much more popular plant to grow among vegetable gardeners up and down the US.

This is a form of cabbage, distinct from other varieties of the species as the leaves do not form a head. As a result of this it is thought to be closer to wild cabbage than domestic forms that are typically associated with the plant.

Speculating on the nature of kale's return to popularity, Mr Morris suggested: "It's because it is extremely easy to grow and harvest."

"Kale is also highly productive… all you have to do is keep picking off the outer leaves when they reach eight to ten inches long," the expert continued.

Indeed, the use of a greenhouse can make vegetable gardening a simple task and there is no need for something that can be a relaxing and rewarding pastime to become an arduous and stressful task.

One of the key advantages of the greenhouse is that it can make plants so much easier to manage, as greater control over climate conditions is allowed.