I want a brand new conifer for Christmas

Anyone remember the novelty Christmas hit single from 1953 titled, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas? It has remained one of my very favorites since the first time I heard it. It just doesn’t quite seem like the Christmas holiday season without hearing this song at least once.

I was trying out one of those new online services that let you listen to tons of music on your computer – for free. My wife requested an evening of Christmas music, so I did a search and created a playlist. Sure enough, I found Gayla Peevey’s old recording. As we were enjoying our evening, working on our hand-crafted gifts, my mind began to wander as Gayla’s voice filled the room – what if I changed the lyrics just a little bit to better fit my Christmas wish – here is the result:

I want a brand new conifer for Christmas
Only a brand new conifer will do
Don’t want a bulb, no stinky Amorphophallus titanum
I want a brand new conifer to plant in my arboretum

I want a brand new conifer for Christmas
I don’t think Santa Claus will mind, do you?
He won’t have to use our dirty chimney flue
Just bring it through the front door, that’s the easy thing to do

I can see me now on Christmas morning, creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy and what surprise when I open up my eyes
To see a brand new conifer potted there

I want a brand new conifer for Christmas
Only a brand new conifer will do
No Rhododendrons, no silly little crocuseses
I only like colorful coniferususes
And colorful coniferuses like me too!

May you all have a holiday filled with the people you love.

Ed-
Conifer Lover

See you next year!

Just quick note to wish you all a Happy and Joy-filled Christmas Holiday Season! Pop on over to the Facebook page and say “Hi” to one another there until I return!

See you in 2011!

Ed-
Conifer Lover

Decorate your Hillside

As far as I am concerned, it is now officially, winter. I know, winter does not officially begin until December 21st, but as soon as we set our clocks back to Pacific Standard Time, the temperature dropped 20 degrees and it seems like it’s dark two hours earlier. Whoever invented the tradition of decorating our homes with thousands of colorful lights for the holidays deserves high honors.

As the cold and darkness of winter engulfs our lives, it is very helpful to see neighborhoods all aglow in festivity. I used to think that people putting their lights up on Thanksgiving weekend were out of their mind. I have to admit though; I sure would like to see some festive lighting now! Of course if my wife finds out about my desire to see the lights go up early this year, I have a feeling the next morning I’ll get up and find a BIG pile of all our lights between me and my morning tea.

I took a quick stroll around my garden this morning between downpours. In the back of my mind I was thinking about which trees my wife might like to see all lit up with her favorite lights. One she always loves me to decorate is our large Picea pungens ‘Montgomery.’ No wonder, he’s a very big boy now and has that fantastic traditional Christmas tree shape. Not far from my ‘Montgomery’ I see another compact conifer that is getting to the size and shape that should please my wife when she sees him full of tiny white lights. 

Picea pungens 'Hillside'

Picea pungens 'Hillside' has a greener tone and is a little more compact that his cousin 'Montgomery' behind and to the right.

Picea pungens ‘Hillside’ is one of my favorite compact Colorado spruce trees. With a growth rate at ½ to ¾ that of ‘Montgomery,’ this dwarf conifer will spend his first 10 or 15 years looking a little more like a roundish mound than a cone-shaped tree, but as he matures, he’ll take on a nice compact pyramidal form. At 30 to 40 years old, the old specimen at Iseli’s display garden is just nine or ten feet tall. Mine is considerably younger but has a good start on its Christmas tree shape, so he’ll look great cloaked in lights. 

‘Hillside’ has more of a greenish tone than some of the other popular dwarf Colorado spruce, many of which sport bright shades of blue. But, who wants all their conifers to be the same color anyway? Not me. I love to see all the varying shades of green and blue (and even yellow) that the Colorado spruce contribute to my garden. 

Yes, I think with the new, low energy-consuming LED Christmas lights available these days, I just may be lighting up my corner of the neighborhood early this year. Maybe I’ll combat winter depression by starting a new tradition with four months of festive holiday lighting from Halloween to Valentine’s Day! 

Ed-
Conifer Lover