What’s in a Garden? #2

This is the first post in a series, introduced last week, in which we’ll look at the various botanical components which comprise the Russell Page-designed garden at the Frick Collection, on East 70th Street. Please note that the plants profiled here are based on those indicated by Russell Page in various texts on his design, for example his article entitled “The Shaping of a Garden,” which appeared in House & Garden in 1977. Some of these plant varieties may no longer be actively cultivated in the garden. This week …


As the largest and most prominent of all garden plants, trees establish the basic, long-term framework of a garden, and their forms and colors influence the selection of other plants. Since they originate from most regions of the world, there is an immense variety of ornamental trees suitable for almost any garden site. (The American Horticultural Society, A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants)

Goldenrain   (Koelreuteria paniculata)

Native to China and Korea, the Goldenrain tree is a medium-sized tree, growing 30 to 40 feet tall, in an irregular, rounded shape. With its tolerance for drought, heat, and pollution, this tree is ideal for urban landscapes and flowers June–July, in large, stalked bunches of small yellow flowers. Fun Fact: The tree’s falling flowers inspired its common name.


Japanese Cedar   (Cryptomeria japonica)

Commonly known as the Japanese Cedar (pictured above), this evergreen tree forms a loose, pyramidal shape, with long branches of dense, fragrant needles. With a moderate growth rate, the long-living Cryptomeria tree can grow 50 to 80 feet tall, though heights over 100 feet are not uncommon.

American Yellowwood   (Cladrastis kentuckea)

Named for its yellow heartwood and often planted as an ornamental, the American Yellowwood is distinguished by its short main trunk of smooth, brownish gray bark and moderately dense, rounded shape. Blooming May–June, the yellowwood’s fragrant, white flowers hang in 10 to 14 inch clusters while its autumn foliage features vibrant shades of yellow and orange.

Tea Crabapple   (Malus hupehensis)

The late-blooming Tea Crabapple typically matures to a vase-like silhouette, extending 15 to 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Every April– May, abundant light pink to white blossoms appear, creating a fragrant, open canopy.

PHOTOS: Japanese cedar via and via

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