The cold Arctic air that I mentioned last week has moved into our area. I understand that what those of us in the Pacific Northwest will experience over the next few days is nothing like what many of our friends are enduring in other parts of the country right now. A good friend took his eleven year old son to the “big game” in Green Bay and managed to survive four hours of -21º F wind-chill Sunday. Conditions like that give me a new appreciation for our gray rainy days here.
When cold air does make its way into the PNW, I also renew my appreciation for hardy conifers and how great they are for those areas where the winter is commonly far more bitter cold than here. In an earlier blog, I mentioned a handful of dwarf Colorado Blue Spruce that I am particularly fond of. One of the most popular ones on my list is Picea pungens ‘Montgomery.’
Growing at perhaps one third to half the rate of the Colorado Blue Spruce, ‘Montgomery’ is a dwarf version reaching a height of 10 to 12 feet in 20 years. When young, ‘Montgomery’ will grow as a globe shaped mound. Its striking, consistant blue color will certainly draw the attention of passersby. As it matures, it will form a broad pyramidal shape eventually growning into a neat and compact version of the much larger parent tree. Some people prefer to prune out the developing dominant leader to encourage a broader than tall mound shaped plant into maturity. Either way, ‘Montgomery’ is a fantastic garden plant with brilliant blue color and extreme hardiness growing in zone 2 (-40 to -50º F).
‘Montgomery’s hardiness is an attribute that I don’t need to be concerned with where I live. I love it for its generally care free nature, great form and color. With all the shades of green in the garden, I’m thrilled to have ‘Montgomery’ as one contributer to the exciting range of blues to make my garden a real joy.
Thanks to Iseli Nursery for the photo links!