Up a tree over midcentury landscaping

A mid-day update — I see Magbot’s question on yesterday’s post about curb appeal:

Does anybody know what you call this kind of tree (perfect for MCM houses, might only grow on West Coast):

Thanks, Magbot! Anyone know?


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  1. Anne says

    It looks like a juniper that has been pruned into those shapes. You could shop around for a pom-pom juniper that has already been trained into a shape. I was wondering if anyone can tell me about what the buttons on my 1950’s push button GE stove are? I figured out the temp control but there are 4 buttons on each side that are labeled br, bk, and 2 other things that I can’t remember. I burned dinner last night because it got too hot but the temp was only set at 325 any ideas?

  2. Palm Springs Stephan says

    I think the specific tree in the photo is a commonly called a cypress. Here in California, both junipers and cypress are very common and often sculpted like that, though junipers are usually more vertical (stacked balls) and cypress more spread out as in this photo. But technically, both junipers and cypress are members of the same botanical family: Cupressaceae, or “cypress.”

  3. says

    Great tree, it looks so fun.

    That said…I was just thinking about dropping you a line regarding landscaping. We love our little ’51 Cape Cod bungalow, but its curb appeal could use some major intervention (former owner was a bachelor who spent, thankfully for us, his time and money inside the house). I’d love to see some posts addressing front yards, patios, entryways, general landscaping here!

  4. Femme1 says

    After looking at the photos on Hannah’s blog (thank you, Hannah!) and falling in love with the strangely storybook-like topiaries, I decided I HAD to have one of these pom-pom shrubs for my yard. Apparently these aren’t uncommon on the west coast, but I’ve never seen them before. Here’s the skinny: they are trimmed Boulevard Cypress trees (Chamaecyparis pisifera),
    sometimes called “pom pom cypress.” I found some nurseries on the west coast that sell them.

    But I also found a Q&A from the Carroll Gardens website (Carroll Gardens is a huge nursery in Maryland), where the expert says in reply to someone asking about growing these in other areas:
    “I am not very fond of Boulevard Cypress. I admit they look good in the nursery when they just come in from the West Coast, where they are usually grown, and they are tempting indeed. Even without trimming, with age they get brown in the center. The Pom Pom is nothing more than a trimmed Boulevard. You will have to trim it twice a year to keep it in shape. With the trimming, the browning gets worse and after a few years you will throw it away because it had gotten so ugly. Without trimming Boulevard Cypress is a tree — 20 feet or more. Not a good choice; I wouldn’t plant one in my yard even if someone gave me one for free. I suggest you consider Hinoki Cypress or dwarf blue spruce grafted on a standard.”

    Wow, pretty strong anti-cypress feelings, eh? I already have a Hinoki Cypress that I love, so I guess I’ll just be happy with her.

  5. maggie says

    Hannah! That portfolio you did of shrub/tree photos is SPECTACULAR! Seriously, y’all, everybody should go look at it right now!

  6. Mary-Frances Main says

    I did a bunch of research on these bushes as well. Our realtor suggested we rip them out when we bought the house! GASP!

    They are pom-pom Junipers. I have a few posts around this time: http://www.midcenturystyle.net/wordpress/?p=58

    We paid a very nice man $100 to do a really thorough trimming of ours and they’ve stayed nice, just requiring some basic touch ups. The nice lady across the street manicures hers to perfection, I’m not quite as good, but they do take some work.

    However, I think they are totally worth it!

  7. Femme1 says

    Mary-Frances, I love your house AND your pom-poms. I got so enthusiastic about pom-poms that this weekend I attempted to approximate one by trimming one of my poor bedraggled shrubs (I was thinking of pulling it out anyway). It actually didn’t come out half bad, sort of a cross between pom-pom and a platter. It’ll look better if the poms fill in a bit.

  8. Mary-Frances Main says

    Femme1, I have noticed that they take a while to “train” our neighbors all have LOVELY ones that I envy all the time.

  9. SD Amy says

    Hi Pam, do you have any information on how to create these beautiful topiaries? I just purchased a Hollywood Juniper and I don’t know how to create this look. It will be a trial and error with this one and I’ve searched the internet, but have found nothing but how to trim them for a “usual” evergreen look. If anyone has any books, sites or information about creating these topiaries, I would love to hear about it!! Thank you in advance!! Amy

  10. Charlie says

    hi. These types of topiary’s are pretty pricey if you buy them already trimmed up. I found it’s not that hard to trim yourself, however it may take a few years to get to where you want it. I’m not sure of the exact species, but I know I bought a tall cypress of some sort last year. I trimmed it into a stacked 3 ball and it looks great. Should keep getting better. However I am looking now to make the more “arm like” look with separate balls. I live in NJ, what type of cypress/Juniper should I get? I don’t want it to turn brown in the coming years like a few posts up said?? Help! Thanks!

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