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Cunninghamia lanceolata

8th October 2010

I cut down a row of Pine trees that had been sheltering the garden for years - they were becoming too large to be effective - and I did it with some trepidation. It opened up a wonderful offortunity to plant some new things. I have been looking at Cunninghamia lanceolata in other gardens for years and it is good to get a chance to grow one of my own, I find these odd spiky conifers quite charming.
It comes from China, Vietnam and Laos where it is a valuable timber tree. In the UK it is occasionally grown as an ornamental. Given time and space it can make a towering pyramid of spikiness.
Mine will be a small shrubby blob for a few years yet. Planting it was a seriously prickly job and I was amazed when the lower branches were stripped off by the rabbits. Now it has a little fence to keep it safe. Let us assume for a moment that I can see into the future and tell you that by 2013 it has tripled in size and become denser and greener (and not admit that it has taken me three years to get around to this write-up)!

28th February 2018

My little plant has continued to grow and is in danger of swallowing up the surrounding vegetation. A decision had to be made and in the end the Cunninghamia was removed. They are lovely as young plants but as they get older they lose some of the charm and become flaky and prickly. I may plant another in a more suitable location where I won't mind continued expansion. It's place has been taken 'Sekkan Sugi' which should remain managable.
Picture taken at the start of the "Beast from the East" event.