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What’s growing at the county government complex?

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

“Garden” may not come to mind when you think of the Brunswick County Government Complex in Bolivia, but the areas around buildings N and F are currently evolving into a great place to learn about plants that work well in our area.

One of the wonderful things about having a local garden is I get to plant things and see how they perform. That’s what we’re doing with the collection of crape myrtles that’s up to about 40 or so now, and you’ll find all 23 of the Encore azalea selections plus lots of other trees, shrubs, vines and perennials.

Mid-winter isn’t a time when we think about our gardens making a great show, but there are some interesting things to see at the Brunswick Botanical Garden. It’s open seven days a week during daylight hours, so drop by at your leisure. If you’d like a tour, call 253-2610 to make the arrangements. Stop by during regular business hours from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday if you want to ask questions.

Plants that draw attention usually have showy flowers and brightly colored foliage. Near the rear entrance to Building N is a plant that is incredibly striking this time of year but has neither foliage nor flowers right now. That plant is Cascade Falls Bald Cypress.

The mental picture of bald cypress for most of us is a tall, narrow conifer that drops its needles in the fall and grows in or near moist areas. Cascade Falls, as you might expect from the moniker, is a weeping plant. In fact, if it’s not staked it acts like a ground cover.

Our plant was staked in the nursery up to about four feet. Since it was planted in 2005, it has grown in caliper and width, but we haven’t staked it any higher. In the winter landscape, the twisting and descending branches look like a large-scale bonsai.

Cascade Falls makes a great specimen plant at entry points of the garden, much like you might use a Japanese maple.

Like any bald cypress, this plant isn’t going to tax your horticultural skills. It will tolerate average to poor soils and does fine where it’s too moist for lots of plants. Placed in soils with higher levels of organic matter and fertility, Cascade Falls will develop more quickly, just like most other plants.

If you fall in love with this plant, the biggest challenge you’ll have is finding one. Mail-order nurseries usually have them but they are always small and carry a large price tag. We bought ours from a nursery near Clayton, just south of Raleigh. Your favorite retail nursery can probably find one for you or try entering “Cascade Falls Bald Cypress source” into your favorite Internet search engine.