The locust has been showering us with leaves all during this windy week. But the leaves of my big Ginkgo biloba — which I can easily see from the living room window — are just faintly turning color. It usually changes at the very end of October. The two dwarf Ginkgos, however, are both in full fall color mode: clear, luminous yellow.
Ginkgo trees have an architectural structure that is beautiful any time of year. But the real reason most of us plant this slow-growing tree is for its distinctive fan-shaped leaves. Once you see a Ginkgo leaf, you'll recognize it anywhere. And for the ultimate viewing of those lovely leaves, nothing beats a dwarf Ginkgo tree. I have two that I purchased a couple of years ago from Klehm’s Song Sparrow.
A lone Ginkgo leaf on a bed of Honey Locust leaves and Ajuga.
Ginkgo biloba ‘Mariken’ is a “dwarf dense grower, one of the most compact of all Ginkgos, according to Klehm. It has “diminutive leaves and an extremely slow growth habit.” In ten years, it will be 2’ x 2’ but right now, at two years old, it is a strong presence at any time of the year. But it’s a standout today in full autumn glory.
Ginkgo biloba ‘Spring Grove’ is described as a dwarf or semi-dwarf plant with “a very dense, symmetrical appearance and a somewhat pyramidal habit with a strong central leader and good branching.” This one is narrower — only about 1½’ wide in five years and about 3’ tall in that time.
Ginkgo biloba 'Spring Grove' with the yellowing foliage of crested Iris.
Right now the two tiny trees are almost identical. I’ve planted them only a short distance from each other so I can compare their growth habits and changes. They’ve been a daily delight — so much so that I plan to add more variations as Klehm offers them.