Plants (& Color) of the Week: December 21
While the holiday color palette is typically composed of red, white, green and gold, I feel that muted shades of brown, gray and blue feel just right at this time of the year too. I prefer the subtlety of this palette and find these colors better mimic the natural colors of the season.
The concolor fir, Abies concolor (white fir), is a lovely soft textured conifer cherished for steely blue foliage and a tight pyramidal form. Native to mountainous regions of the Western United States, this hardy fir has a pleasant aroma and makes a top-shelf Christmas tree. The blue foliage accentuates the attractive upright cones which mature to brown and purple. Abies concolor grows approximately 50’x20’ with age. Hardy to USDA zone 3, this plant tolerates cold temperatures, and while full sun is preferred, hot and humid weather are not appreciated. In the Mid-Atlantic this tree should be sited in cooler areas of the landscape.
Eucalyptus gunnii ‘Steel Tower’(cider gum) also offers steely blue foliage and a narrow upright habit, as the cultivar name would suggest. Listed as hardy to 9a this plant is typically used as an annual in our region and northward. However, plants sold with a predicted size of 36” stand over ten feet two years after planting at the Scott Arboretum in zone 7b. Dried eucalyptus branches are popular due to the scented foliage, but also make a lovely addition to holiday arrangements. Observe the subtle yet striking combination in the background of the bright white Betula papyrifera (paper birch) branches with khaki-toned Lindera angustifolia var. glabra (willow-leaved spicebush), and how the soft blue plays well off these colors.
What colors do you associate with this time of the year? How are you using colors to shape the mood of your spaces?