This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"It does not appear to be generally known that this fine Japanese Conifer, so distinct in habit and yet so beautiful, is hardy in sheltered positions on well-drained soils, as far north as Edinburgh. Two healthy little specimens of it in the Botanic Gardens there, planted out some four years ago, are thriving most satisfactorily. There arc, at least, two distinct forms of this plant in cultivation, one being dense in habit, and the other more lax and luxuriant."
The above is from the Garden. We believe it is one of the hardiest of coniferous plants, but of remarkably slow growth. We know of one plant that has stood 17° below zero without the slightest injury, but it is not yet much over one foot high, though now very branch}*, and it is over fifteen years old. Besides the above, we give the following from the Gardener's Chronicle:
"Indigenous to Japan, from whence it was introduced by Mr. Fortune in 1S61. It is described as a large pyramidal tree, with horizontal spreading branches, attaining from 100 to 150 feet in height, and from 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Dr. Siebold, who previously discovered it, described it as a large bush or small tree, from 12 to 15 feet in height. Judging from the progress making, and the specimens to be seen in this country, Dr. Siebold's description is likely to prove correct. It is very satisfactory to know that this very distinct, indeed unique, tree, has generally proved quite hardy, although of slow growth, at least in its young state. Its branches are alternate and verticillate, with numerous branchlets; its leaves are from 2 to 3 inches in length, linear, leathery, and of a yellowish green color, spreading out horizontally like the ribs of an umbrella, hence its name of Umbrella Pine. Dr. Siebold considers the Umbrella Fir the finest Conifer of Japan, and one which presents an appearance as strange as elegant, in consequence of its innumerable ramifications, which always end in a parasol-like tuft of leaves.
"We have not yet had sufficient experience to speak very positively as to its merits and culture, but have seen enough to satisfy us that it will require a warm situation to induce growth. and a good deep soil on a dry subsoil. It will probably be found to be better adapted for the Southern than the Northern parts of these islands.
"Wherever there is any chance of its succeeding as an ornamental tree, it should be experimented with, on account of its unique and elegant appearance. At Castle Kennedy, and numerous other places in Scotland, it has stood the severity of our winters unscathed, but seldom makes more than 2 or 3 inches of growth in a season.
"Messrs. Veitch report that their largest plant (4 feet in height), in their rich collection of Conifers at Coombe Wood, near Wimbledon, last year grew 9 inches."