At Shady Pond, the year began with the first production plant of Leyland Cypress-Leighton Green Gernon in late February. The new tree had been registered by the Royal Horticultural Society in England a few weeks earlier on January 9. A detailed discussion is included in the article below.
But as the weeks passed and spring became summer, the lingering effect of the two snow events the previous winter and the arctic air that followed became apparent. Some of you may know that snow adds nutrients to the soil. Since snow is rare in the South, its nurturing effects on plant life is easier to detect when compared to more northly locations where it occurs regularly. In the North the benefits of snow are always present and are not displayed as anything unusual. But not so in the South. Here, the added soil fertility stands out like a sore thumb. The trees grew intensily. The foliage was lush and vibrant, and that was the good news. The bad news was the fact that the grass did the same thing. The growth was really beyond reason.
As snow flakes drift slowly to the earth below, they gather nitrogen from the air. Since air is 78% nitrogen, the little snow flakes have lots to work with. Then as they melt slowly just as they did here last winter in the arctic air that remained, they transfer the nitrogen into the soil. And things green explode in spring. The effect of last winter’s snows was unusually intense. And this phenomia is one of many gifts from Mother Nature.
So, who knows what will happen this winter? But for sure it will be Christmas time once again. And, we hope to see each of you at this most magical time of year.
Christmas Tree Varieties:
On January 2, 2018 the application to register our disease resistant Leyland was submitted to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) registrar in France, Sharon McDonald. One week later on January 9, the registration of x Cuprocyparis leylandii ‘Leighton Green-Gernon’ was complete. This was the culmination of several years of work on the Passalora sequoiae resistant Leyland. Since RHS is the international cultivar registration authority for the genus x Cuprocyparis, the new Leyland is recognized globally.
Leyland Cypress in general as well as the Leighton Green cultivar were originally developed on the Leighton Hall Estate in the South of Wales. For over a century these trees were observed to be disease free. But the Passalora fungus eventually attacked them with no mercy and Leylands fell into disfavor in the horticultural community. Even the US National Arboretum placed the tree on its ‘no plant’ list. But Leighton Green-Gernon has returned the tree to its original path. It gives the British their tree back. And Ms. McDonald, for one, seemed pleased to receive this unexpected gift. And since LGG has improved overall health, it is growing faster than common Leighton Greens. Observations here indicate that LGG at 3-years of age equals common LG at 4-years of age. And as time passes, that growth gain will widen.
For me, developing and testing Leighton Green-Gernon (LGG) was a fascinating experience and a truly unique honor. It was my opportunity to watch Darwin’s Law unfold before my very eyes in real time. I am blessed. Clearly, the ghosts were at work.
The first large scale planting of LGG happen in February. It began with the permanent hedge located in the Game Preserve area at Shady Pond across the road from the cottage. The hedge consists of three concentric circles with the largest being 90-feet in diameter. Several Water Oaks had to be removed to make room. The purpose of the hedge is to maintain a source of genetically pure material. Should unexpected problems occur, original plant tissue will be available for cloning.
Then in late February, Field ‘A’ was planted with the first LGG production trees. That field includes a number of varieties totaling 3500 and 1700 of those are LGG.
Shady Pond Tree Farm has entered into an agreement with Something Bleu Photography. This studio will assume the role of the tree farm’s designated photographer. Something Bleu is owned by Jen Meadows and Jenny Thibodeaux and can be reached at 985-687-8980.
Dealing with commercial photographers has become a time consuming challenge over the past several years. And having Jen and Jenny as part of the tree farm group should simplify things significantly. Obviously, ‘walk-in’ commercial photography will be prohibited going forward. Private photography is not restricted, so feel free to snap all the shots you wish.
The girls of Something Bleu have several events planned for this season including mini-sessions and spot sessions during regular business hours. So contact Jen and Jenny to professionally record your most treasured Christmas memories.
The bees have been really busy this summer and the Lynchards will be at the tree farm on weekends with the honey they produced. The honey will be available in large containers as well as small gift jars. Be sure to pickup an adequate supply for the Christmas Holidays. You can also contact Barbara, Lawrence and Billy directly at 985-863-0136.