Want a plant that stands out in the winter landscape? ‘Chief Joseph’ lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta ‘Chief Joseph’) does that with its stunning winter color. Typically described as squash yellow, ‘Chief Joseph” is pure gold–more specifically yellow with a slight orange tint and an ochre-ish undertone. In summer, the plant is green with not a hint of its dramatic winter look. The photo above shows a plant about 2 feet tall in my garden after a light snowfall. I feel happy on my garden walks when I visit this little lodgepole pine and other plants chosen for winter interest. After all, the next best thing to being outdoors on a warm sunny day is enjoying my plants on an icy cold one.
According to the folks at Washington State University, ‘Chief Joseph’ grows slowly (about 2 to 4 inches per year) to 6 feet high and 3 feet wide in 10 years. This lodgepole pine, discovered in northeastern Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains, is hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9.
Do you have a favorite winter tree or shrub?