Here in the Pacific Northwest, we often describe the color of our sky in shades of gray. This time of year, we see more of the darker shades than the lighter. Sometimes our gray sky drops to ground level and we have fog. It was one of those foggy days that I was surprised by a wonderful ray of sunshine in my garden.
I had almost forgotten about my Pinus contorta ‘Chief Joseph.’ Most of the growing season when I am delighted by so many other colorful conifers and companion plants, the good “Chief” stands quietly waiting for his chance to shout, “Here I am!”
And shout he does! Even in our dark gray and foggy garden, ‘Chief Joseph’ had already turned his bright golden “winter” color like a ray of sunshine. During spring and summer, ‘Chief Joseph’ appears to be an ordinary and very unassuming Shore Pine. As the autumn weather begins to cool and winter’s cold snap arrives, the chief will become brighter and brighter golden yellow. He makes a great winter specimen in the garden and a pleasant autumn surprise.