18 Jun 2011

A Family Affair


Abies koreana is in itself an outstanding species of high ornamental value. Slow growing, they form a symmetrical pyramid of glossy, dark green foliage, the needles bright silver beneath. Most seedlings produce startling, bluish-purple cones within ten years of age, often clustered along the branches like blue candles!


An almost bewildering number of selections and ‘witch’s brooms’ have been introduced into cultivation by collectors and specialists.

Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ [Silver Curls] was introduced by Gunter Horstmann. A distinctively slow growing conifer with fat needles that curl upward, revealing their mesmerizing silvery underlay. It is often slow to make a leading shoot unless pruned and kept as a bush, it will eventually make a pyramidal tree with an irregular habit. Perfect for an ‘irregular’ gardener like myself.


This is the second year that this beguiling princeling has resided in my garden, and only yesterday I added another of Horstmann’s name-sakes.

DSC_0641 Please welcome Larix decidua ‘Horstmann’s Recurved’ to the family. I have always loved this genus, with its needle like foliage that emerges as soft as blue grey feathers, and retains a delightfully contorted growth habit – its not something that it outgrows!

An extremely hardy Japanese selection, recurved, [meaning downward and/or backward] is a perfect way to describe the branching habit of this fabulous cultivar! With its twisting and turning branchlets, many view its winter appearance to be where its inner beauty lies! The soft green ‘needles’ have a delightful blue tint as they emerge in Spring, but it is its ‘golden’ slide into Fall that causes heads to turn! Its height and spread is approximately 2.5m tall and 1.5m wide in approximately ten years.


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