The Cartwheel Tree and the Yew and “Washington Evergreen”

     Evergreens are the backbone of the garden. Broad leaved evergreens like rhododendrons, camellias and barberry or needled evergreens like firs, pines and cedars keep the home garden from completely disappearing in winter. When holiday time rolls in and the seasonal color in the garden is gone, you still have our reliable lush evergreens, It sets us apart from areas with little rainfall and freezing temperatures. We have an embarrassment of evergreen riches…some seldom used and nearly forgotten are…

Trochodendron araloides “The Cartwheel Tree”

     This small evergreen tree/shrub has whirls of leaves and “petal-less” chartreuse flowers in spring. It is slow growing so it does well in a container.  It is the lonely only of its species. It has no relatives.  Its shiny leaves look fresh year round  and it is often noted as “architectural” because of its regal layered silhouette. It’s a mathematical plant. Each shoot has five shoots with leaves of equal length. It is a well organized, layered small tree.You would think it would be difficult to find but now is the time to find it and preorder. They’re out there and they’re worth the search. From the organized to the chaotic comes…

Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’ “The Spreading Japanese Plum Yew”

      If the Trochodendron  is well behaved, the spreading Japanese  plum yew is a wild child. It is often called the problem solving evergreen because it tolerates shade, sun, heat and drought and easily spreads under trees and around foundations. It grows to 2-3 feet and spreads up to 4 feet. It’s the perfect tall ground cover or short hedge. The spreading plum yew keeps crowds out weeds and has typical the soft yew needles. It gives year round fresh looking dark greenery and it’s easy to grow! Just the thought of “evergreen” points to a just released book about our beautiful state…

“Washington Evergreen” Land of Natural Wonders by Photo Cascadia

     Photo Cascadia is a team of 7 photographers who “place a high value on the preservation of wild and natural places and the protection of the environmentall”  They are all from “Cascadia”, the Pacific Northwest bioregion that encompasses all of Washington. 

      They photograph the great outdoors in general and the Pacific Northwest in particular. “Washington Evergreen” is a singularly stunning book of photography of our beautiful state. The book divides the state into seven regions including Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound, North Cascades, Okanagan Highlands, Willapa Hills, South Cascades and the Columbia Basin and all are represented in jawdropping splendor.

     Environmentalists, photographers, permanent residents of Washington, those who just moved here, those who are thinking about moving here and anybody who wants to “show off” how lucky we are to live here will find it fascinating. 


        Calling it a coffee table book doesn’t do it justice even though it is filled with stunning colorful photos from cover to cover. Camera types and settings for each photo are included in credits for all of the photographers out there who want to know how they captured such beauty. The storied forward is by naturalist Robert Michael Pyle. It explains his own personal journey and love of Washington. 

Timber Press, 243 p. $30