Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Inspiration

Wading through the photos and memories of the recent Garden Blogger Fling in Asheville, NC, I like to do an overview quickly then take more time to digest and process what was seen during these events before writing extensively about it, one plant jumped off the laptop screen for more attention. In the above shot taken at the Gentling garden, Geoff of Cobrahead Blog and Sarah Battersby of Toronto Gardens are also interested.

It was the weeping blue atlas cedar, Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ that was captured at the Peter and Jasmin Gentling garden. For more info about this tree, click here-Dave’s Garden site.

There was also a giant specimen photographed at the Biltmore Estate gardens. I have not cropped out the fellow walking by so you can see the size of this majestic mammoth tree. This is a tree that commands attention, wherever it is grown. There just so happens to be one growing here at the Fairegarden that is in dire need of much better branch management.

After seeing the two trees growing so happily in the clean mountain air, adequate rainfall and moderate temperatures of Zone 6B/7A in these gardens, the mature size has me a little frightened. Our tree was planted here in Zone 7A in Southeast Tennessee in 2000, right outside the kitchen window over the sink, for frequent viewing pleasure. A little more research was done after that planting, and the sizing for the space had to get a rethink, pronto. It was still small enough to dig fairly easily and move to a larger open space behind the mailbox down by the street. The eight foot piece of rebar that was used to stake it for a taller height was reinforced with a twelve foot larger metal bar. The above photo was taken May 21, 2008.

Over the years the main trunk was wound around this bar until it reached the top and began the graceful weeping habit for which this tree is famous. While it is indeed beautiful and graceful, the branches are reaching out into the sidewalk area and over the mailbox, as well. Sadly, large branches have been regularly cut off to keep it in bounds.

I would love to do what retired doctor Peter Gentling has done with his, making a waterfall effect behind his pond. Speaking with him about this tree, he shared that his had been a gift from a dying patient, passed along as a sweet remembrance. It has been in the ground there for about twenty years, he said. But our pond is in the back garden and this tree is much too large to move now. But the idea of strong posts along the street side or perhaps following the curve of the sidewalk up towards the front door might be something that could be done here.

More thought is required on this. The visits to wonderful gardens both public and private during the flings are a source for ideas to last a lifetime in our own gardens. I hope all the attendees have gotten inspiration from their catalogs of photos, and that the readers of the blog posts about the flings can also get some ideas to use in their own space, no matter how small. Let those creative juices flow like a waterfall!

Above: Helen Battersby, who blogs at Toronto Gardens with her sister Sarah shown in the opening image, and I are on opposite sides of the waterfall tree, snapping simultaneously. This is normally done with my friend Layanee of Ledge and Gardens, who had to miss this fling. Helen, thank you for standing in, my friend!

Other posts from the Asheville 2012 Fling:

Postcards from Asheville, the Fifth Fling

The Artfully Mello Garden

Skulls, Fairies and Fantasy

Garden Art of Asheville Fling 2012


This entry was posted in Projects, Road Trips. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Inspiration

  1. Layanee says:

    You look lovely under that blue atlas cedar but I cannot see your face! Thanks for the link love. I missed Fling this year but will try to never let that happen again.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. You were missed very much by everyone. I do hope to see you on the other side of the lens next fling!

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You bet I have had the creative juices going ever since returming from the Fling. I think it is a good idea to train your tree as you mentioned here. It would be quite the dramatic welcoming.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. Good to hear you got some creative ideas after seeing all of those wonderful gardens in Asheville. I have gotten ideas from every single fling, some have even been put into action! I need to talk to the Financier about those posts.

  3. gail says:

    I loved the Gentling Blue Atlas~thought it beyond impressive, actually magnificent! Then to see the one at Biltmore had me wishing for more open sky. I know you will come up with a good plan for yours. I can’t wait to see what you do. xoxogail

    Wasn’t that amazing, Gail, the Gentling tree? I liked it much better than the big blog at the Biltmore, although that was impressive. I wonder if they have ever pruned it?

  4. indygardener says:

    That is a beautiful tree and those are wonderful ideas to use its weeping branches for best effect. I know whatever you do, it will only add to your garden.

    Thanks Carol. The color alone is reason to grow this tree. Figuring out how to prune it didn’t even enter my brain when it was planted. I am not using it to its full potential, didn’t really know how to do that, but am now inspired thanks to Peter Gentling.

  5. Yes, that tree was something else. Unimaginable really. I like your idea of bracing yours along the sidewalk. What a splendid specimen you are also growing Faire.~~Dee

    Thanks Dee. My tree is but a whippersnapper compared to those others. I am wasting the branches by continually cutting them off, that must be corrected!

  6. This set of pictures and observations certainly has got me thinking. I have one that I have kept stunted because of where it is located and yet, I have always so admired others that have been allowed to develop more fully. Good for you for making the change on yours when it was new enough to Faire Garden to safely survive a transplant. Maybe with some creative thought, I can come up with a way to open the door to permitting my weeping Blue Atlas to lay claim to more real estate. Thanks for giving me a nudge.

    It is difficult to get the vision with this tree, yet the color and texture is so beautiful, how could we resist it, Michaele? At one time I thought it was too Japanese garden in flavor for my sort of wild plantings, but after seeing the one at the Gentling garden, mine looks much better to me. It just needs some training. Good luck with yours!

  7. commonweeder says:

    I loved this tree from the moment I first saw a fairly young specimen in a wonderful garden that had many magnificent trees. Even though I have lots of room, I am now glad I never managed to plant one. I do not believe I am up to the management. However, the growth of this tree is a reminder that it is never too late to plant a tree that we love because they grow faster than we think – and we may have more time on this earth than we think. Wonderful photos as usual.

    Thanks Pat. With a lot of room, I would plant several of these trees, maybe make a wall of them. It is never, ever too late to plant a tree, we much think of the future, with or without us in it.

  8. Lola says:

    Thanks for another view of the tour. I’ve really enjoyed them all. That is a gorgeous tree. I don’t think I’ve seen one just like it. Great pics.

    Hi Lola, thanks. The Gentling tree was a work of art.

  9. skeeter says:

    I have a solution for your not moving this tree dilemma. Get a second one! Ha, they both stood out to the Saint and I and now we must research to see if they would be a happy tree in the Georgia heat as we have plenty of space for one. And yes, I came away with lots of inspiration from each garden visited…

    Hi Skeeter, that is a good solution! You definitely need one, or more of these trees with your wide open spaces. I hope it will work for you, and start that training early on. HA

  10. That is really a gorgeous plant to have in one’s garden. I do think the Gentlings placed it so well. You are lucky to have one in your garden. Perhaps you will find a way to put some supports in to make your own curtain.

    It is Janet, and the Gentling tree is the best use of it I have ever seen. Very strong supports are needed to carry those branches out and beyond. I am thinking on it.

  11. Those Atlas blue cedars have been on my lust list for some time, and seeing the Gentlings’ curtain of blue was a thrill. I believe they’re borderline hardy in our 5b climate. My garden might not be sunny enough to make one happy, sadly. However, I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with yours. Always a pleasure taking pictures of you, Frances!

    Hi Helen, your photographs are such a joy to see, thank you for pointing your camera my way! The cedar is beautiful, but I know that conifers do so well in your colder, for now, climate that I have lust of my own. The heat here is not always welcome for some of them. We just returned home from a trip to southern Ontario, plant lust and coolness lust combined!

  12. Rose says:

    Somehow I missed this tree in the Gentling garden, but I certainly didn’t miss it at the Biltmore–what a dramatic specimen. Lucky you to have one in your front yard, and how wonderful to be able to get some ideas from Peter Gentling about how to train yours . I found so much inspiration in the gardens we visited; I’ll be looking through photos again this winter for ideas for next year as well.

    Hi Rose, thanks. I believe flings are the best source of inspiration for our gardens, taking lots of photos and perusing them in winter has been done here for several years. One never knows what will spark an idea when the garden is sort of sleeping and anything seems possible.

  13. debsgarden says:

    This is a tree I have long admired. I photographed that same Biltmore tree when I visited the estate a couple years ago and dream of a similar specimen on my own property. The problem is finding the right location! I am still waiting for the inspiration to hit. Meanwhile, I admire others! I think yours would look wonderful trained as you suggested toward the front door. Or could it be trained across the sidewalk, so that people walk under the weeping branches to get your home’s entry?

    Hi Deb, thanks for adding to the conversation here. Give the cedar plenty of room, would be my advice. If I had it to do over, the tree growing here could have been trained into an archway, but would need lots of pruning to keep it from grabbing the folks coming to the front door. I am still thinking on which way to direct the uppermost branches. Maybe I will let them tell me where they want to go and installs posts to accommodate them.

  14. Pingback: Postcards From Asheville, The Fifth Fling | Fairegarden

  15. Pingback: The Artfully Mello Garden | Fairegarden

  16. Pingback: Skulls, Fairies and Fantasy | Fairegarden

  17. Pingback: Garden Art of Asheville Fling 2012 | Fairegarden

  18. Pingback: Front Garden in Winter | Fairegarden

Comments are closed.