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Regional Picks: Conifers For Gardens – Northern California

Fine Gardening – Issue 178

Northern California


1. Golden Dwarf Japanese Yew


Name: Taxus cuspidata ‘Nana Aurescens’

Zones: 4 to 7

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; well-drained, loamy soil

This plant, a spreading selection of Japanese yew, is a stunner all year and much loved for its compact growth habit, rounded form, and finely textured foliage. However, ‘Nana Aurescens’ is a particular standout in early spring, when its fresh new growth emerges in vibrant hues of bright chartreuse, contrasting beautifully with the rich, glossy green of the more mature foliage. This low-maintenance, slow-growing, highly adaptable conifer is an excellent choice for a mixed border in either sun or shade or as a foundation planting candidate or a rock garden specimen. Be sure to protect it from deer, who find it tasty. It can be shaped or sheared but is lovely when left in its natural form.


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