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In the Garden: If done right, arborvitae is a good choice

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Arborvitae means Tree of Life. In this region, hundreds of the plants are sold at every garden center every year. They grow rapidly, and they are inexpensive. Best of all, dozens of varieties range in size from 25-foot tree to a 2-foot-tall ground-cover shrub and all sizes in between. In the western United States, arborvitae is the most popular plant to shape into balls, spirals, pyramids and other fanciful topiary shapes. All sizes of the plant provide cover for birds, and quail are particularly fond of nesting in its dense branches. These are all the positive features.

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