A great day for conifer gardening

I knew I was dreaming, and I was aware that I was about to awaken, but I didn’t want to.  I had a strong desire to stay right where I was, in the midst of a dream, where the sun was warm and bright, and any troubles were worlds away. As I sat – or stood, now I really don’t recall – I perceived that the light was becoming brighter and engulfing everything around me. I knew I was waking up and BAM – I was awake.

My room was bright. I hadn’t seen this much light, this early in the morning in a long time. I made my best attempt to jump out of bed and instead sort of hobbled over to the window. Sure enough, the sky was clear, and the low rising sun was intense. “It should be a great day to spend some time with my conifers.” I thought to myself.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Reis Dwarf'

The natural habit of Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Reis Dwarf' lends itself to creating delightful garden sculptures for growing either in a container or among other plants in the garden.

After a quick breakfast I strapped on my hand pruners, grabbed a small pruning saw (just in case), queued up a playlist on my mp3 player, stuffed my gloves in my back pocket and headed out to see what fun chores I might find to do out in the garden. Once outside, I began making mental notes of the more tedious and less enjoyable things to do like picking up all the fallen debris from the recent storms, pulling the early-season weeds – that sort of thing – while I looked for an activity that would be a little more fun.

Eventually, I found myself in the front garden scrutinizing my Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Reis Dwarf’. Now, before I go on with my morning adventure, I suppose it would be a good idea to tell you a little about this particular cultivar.

‘Reis Dwarf’ is the clone of a seedling selected by Joe Reis back in the 1960s. This cultivar has a very unusual growth habit giving it a tremendous amount of character as it grows and matures. Initially, it grows very slowly with small, scale-like foliage on tiny branches in a low mounding form. It does, however, randomly shoot out much more vigorously growing branches from time to time. The gardener may choose to snip these occasional growths out as they appear, or if a larger, more upright plant is desired, simply allow this accelerated growth to continue on its own. The longer growth will then begin to fill in with smaller, slower growing clumps of foliage – much like the original small plant – adding tremendous character and opportunity to this unusual specimen.

Next time, I will continue the tale of my encounter with my ‘Reis Dwarf’ on this sunny winter morning. Until then, may your gardens be filled with the year-round color and interest of these landscape gems.

Ed-
Conifer Lover

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