It had been a long and hectic week; one project after another interspersed with appointments and social events; by the end of the week, I was exhausted and decided that nothing would pull me away from my favorite chair near the big picture window overlooking my conifer garden.
As I sipped my tea and read The Hobbit, allowing myself to become pulled into Middle Earth with Bilbo, the dwarves and Gandalf, I would occasionally take a break from the adventure and gaze out upon my garden. I imagined that this odd group of adventurers would probably feel quite at home in my garden of unusual, dwarf and miniature conifers.
My Picea omorika ‘Pendula Bruns’ actually does remind me of a tall wizard with a long pointed hat and certainly many of my other dwarf plants are reminiscent of other whimsical creatures from tales of fantasy and folklore. Just the other day, my wife called me out to where she was sitting and pointed out that a Cheshire Cat was staring at her from the garden. Sure enough, my Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Verdoni’ had somehow morphed into a large cat sitting with the largest grin you might imagine – and it did appear to be staring right at the place that my wife had been sitting.
Our imaginations are wonderful and mysterious. Just the other day, between rain storms, as I took a stroll through my garden, I began to imagine that it was a symphony and the plants were not just the players, but their shape, size, texture and color all contributed to the sounds they made. Larger, dense plants gave off rich, deep tones like that of a bow slowly gliding across the strings of a double bass – strong and loud at first and then tapering off to a gentle tone before silence. Other plants, such as my Thuja plicata ‘Whipchord’ were higher pitched and they played their tones as an arpeggio of notes fluttering like a flute or piccolo. By the time I had made my round through the garden I was refreshed and felt as though I had just enjoyed a live symphony at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
Think about your garden design from a different perspective this coming year and see if dwarf and miniature conifers might be just the plants you need for the perfect year-round garden symphony!