In The Garden Now…..Winter Gold

Monday, December 11, 2017

‘Zebrina Extra Gold’ Western Arborvitae
Text and photo by Victoria Gilleland

The holiday lights and color are wonderful this time of year, but the garden could most certainly use a color boost as winter draws closer and daylight hours become shorter.

One of my favorite ways to add light to the winter garden is to use shrubs and trees with a hint of gold, or a lot of it, in their foliage.

Gold splashed foliage plays well with green foliage plants, reflects the light of the sun and any artificial light in the area, as well as providing a contrast to the bare branches of nearby trees and shrubs.

Zebrina Extra Gold is a fast growing variety of Western Red Cedar with striking golden variegation.

This tree is a close relative of ‘Emerald Green’ Arborvitae which is a very popular screening plant with solid green foliage. The lively variegated foliage of this plant lights up the garden. While some trees and shrubs become leggy in the shade, Zebrina stays compact and colorful.

‘Zebrina Extra Gold’ Western Arborvitae
In 10 years Zebrina may reach 10 or more feet high and 4 feet wide. It will grow in full sun to shade and can be grown in a container for several years.

It could be used as a screen or windbreak at the back of the border or pruned to keep it more compact in a mixed border. Cut branches make great additions to wreaths, swags or table decorations for the holiday season.

If you haven’t gotten your “Holiday Bush” yet how about choosing Zebrina or another tree or shrub with gold foliage? It’s a great way to bring a spot of gold into your world.

Botanical name: Thuja plicata ‘Zebrina Extra Gold’

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching.

She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.


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