Vancouver container garden -- Tree suggestions?

Discussion in 'Small Space Gardening' started by Ruby Red, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. Ruby Red

    Ruby Red Member

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    Hi. I am looking to plant two trees in Vancouver (Canada) in containers on a large (25’ x 25’), second floor, south facing deck. The deck gets full sun for most of the day, and because of the height can be windy.

    I have two big pots (3ftx3ft diameter)—they are plastic but I will weight them somewhat, along with the soil and the tree. Any suggestions on something (perhaps willowy and airy so as not to catch too much wind?)

    These are my concerns:

    One tree should be able to grow up to 15 feet +. Is this crazy for a container? I’m hoping to hide a telephone pole so evergreen is an option. A “wonder tree� A tall narrow poplar? Any other suggestions for hiding a very ugly telephone pole (the deck is right under the transformers, wires, boxes, etc at the second story level.)


    For the other tree I’d like something ‘pretty’ – umbrella shaped, maybe, a weeping birch or a magnolia? I am concerned about sticky little droppings or fruit, but flowering would be nice.

    Thanks for any help you can offer

    RR
     
  2. muriel

    muriel Member

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    Artic Blue Willow, nice for tiny lights at Xmas and will take any amount of wind. i.e.
    Salix purpurea. My willow is in a nasty north facing bed.....and is so not needy. Having just read the wonderful Late Nights On The Air by Elizabeth Hay I'm thinking of our wonderful northland.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Cupressus glabra 'Blue Pyramid'
    Robinia pseudoacacia 'Lace Lady'

    For a 15' tree you will likely need something bigger and more substantial than a 3' diameter plastic pot.
     
  4. Ruby Red

    Ruby Red Member

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    Ron -- thanks for these ideas, I've searched them out and they look lovely. What do you think about the birch idea?

    The gardener I was working with thought the pots would be big enough, so I maybe I have recorded the measurements wrong, I'll check.

    RR
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I picture leaves yellowing and falling on the deck all summer unless you are really on top of watering and other cultural requirements of birches. And like other Betula pendula (the only tree-like one of these small enough is 'Youngii') aphid drip is likely in a hot location in this climate. Maybe a dwarf river birch like 'Fox Valley' would hold up better - but B. nigra doesn't weep.

    The top of a 15' tree can have quite a bit of weight, depending on what kind it is and how it is built.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  6. muriel

    muriel Member

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    Dear Ruby

    You may have surmised there is no simple answer to the situation on your balcony/deck. As any beginning gardener you may just have to choose something you like and which may suit your purpose and be prepared to learn. Choosing a plant is not like choosing a couch. Good luck.
     
  7. Ruby Red

    Ruby Red Member

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    thanks Ron and Muriel for your input. My inclination is to do something along the lines of what you say, Muriel -- just pick something and work with it, see what happens. I like both Ron's suggestions, they are original...I was thinking indigenous as well but we will see what happens. Thanks again for your advice. Now to wait for a little cooler weather.

    RR
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If you want native Myrica californica is a good evergreen with upswept branching and quick growth. Acer glabrum douglasii is characteristic of open rocky places here - there are quite a few in such places at Bellingham and developing land on Lummi Island once produced the US National Champion. It also has upswept branching. Otherwise vine maple is much-used and more elegant, being related to Japanese maple.
     
  9. muriel

    muriel Member

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    RonB and Ruby I'm wondering if a broadleaf evergreen wouldn't suffer on a So. facing balcony/deck with its wind exposure? I can see why birch was recommended - the small leaves. I have had a birch called a "weeping birch" because it does drip mid-summer! What about a poplar (lombardy?) with a clematis to climb up it - neither one would break the bank if they dried out or didn't like the conditions, tho' either way plantings would take daily care.
     

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