We all want instant gratification in our gardens; plant today – lush tomorrow. At some point most of us have learned the hard way that plants just don’t work to our schedule and we have to wait for the plants to fill in and mature before they really fulfill our vision.
Occasionally I come across something that exceeds my expectations and such is the case with the deciduous tree Ruby Vase Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica ‘Ruby Vase’).
Purchased and planted in 2012, I was attracted by the slender silhouette (as compared to the typical Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica), that spreads up to 30′ wide) as well as the promise of fall color and winter flowers. I did not expect to be grabbing my camera every few weeks during spring and summer to capture the remarkable kaleidoscopic display of foliage colors, however.
Through the Seasons
Opening a bright, fresh green the leaves are often edged with purple or burgundy
Incredible variation with each passing week and seemingly from one year to the next! Click on the images, or hover over them, to see the month/year each one was taken
All I can say is thank goodness for digital photography or this tree would cost me a fortune in film! Again different weather patterns from one year to the next seems to affect the coloration. Since today’s (August 15th 2016) foliage is already rich purple I wonder if it will turn orange at all?
I may have purchased this tree for the foliage but the silhouette, bark and winter flowers add to its ornamental value. I believe that as the tree gets older the bark will start to peel and reveal interesting colors.
In my own garden I have it combined with tall burgundy tipped grasses and black eyed Susan for a meadow-inspired look. Large mossy boulders and a rusted arbor complete the scene that overlooks an open grassy area and rough meadow beyond.
Seen from the front the framing is slightly different with a snag playing into the vignette together with golden spirea and many other foliage colors and textures.
For a completely different look you might prefer to add silver; perhaps giant lambs ears (Stachys ‘Bella Grigio’), or a wormwood (Artemisia).
Mature size: 28’h x 12- 16’w
Shape: upright, vase shape
Full sun – part shade (best color in full sen)
Average, moisture retentive soil
Average-low water (I do not have irrigation and rarely give this supplemental water)
Ready to go shopping?
Ask for this at your local nurseries! I have not found it available to purchase online but it is becoming more widely grown and therefore accessible to landscapers and garden centers.
Want more ideas?
Well you may want to pre-order our new book Gardening with Foliage First because we have featured this tree in two different seasons and great combination ideas just for you!
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