Fanciful garden gems

I’ve just been digging through some catalogs both online and in print, and I am getting pumped up and ready to plant some new dwarf and miniature conifers in my garden. There is no doubt that I love the large and stately trees that fill our forests and parks, but my special love is for the dwarfs and miniatures. Honestly, what’s not to love about these delightfully small, low maintenance, colorful and hardy conifers?

A simple Patio Garden using dwarf conifers and other exciting plants.

My rock garden area is getting full, and the tiny plants that I intend to acquire will be too small for other open areas in my garden, so I am going to focus on containers for these fanciful little garden gems. Miniature conifers are perfect with the current trend in container and patio gardens. Once I decide whether I’d like a more formal looking patio garden using manufactured ceramic or terracotta pots, or a rustic look created with handmade hypertufa troughs, my next task will be deciding on which of the wonderful miniature conifers to include in the design.

Hypertufa trough garden using dwarf conifers and other miniature or creeping plants.

I’ve compiled a list of miniature or dwarf forms for my new containers. In a few years when some of the faster growing cultivars are getting too large, I’ll find a place for them in my garden. In the mean time, these little beauties will add a lot to my patio space.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Butter Ball’
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Cumulus’
Picea abies ‘Tompa’
Picea glauca ‘Pixie Dust’
Pinus leucodermis ‘Smidtii’
Pinus strobus ‘Sea Urchin’
Thuja occidentalis ‘Golden Tuffet’
Tsuga canadensis ‘Betty Rose’

Come on SPRING!

Conifer Lover

Thanks to Iseli Nursery for the photo links!

5 thoughts on “Fanciful garden gems

  1. I would like to start a conifer garden in Grand Forks, ND. Don’t laugh. We don’t have many native conifers however I am looking for dwarfs or intermediates that would better fit into small yards or gardens. Do you have any conifers that would work in ND?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Karon – Yes, there are many conifers that should grow in your area. Last year a good friend of mine created a landscape design for his friends in Plentywood, Montana. His list of plants are hardy in Zone 3/4 which I suspect would be similar to where you are located.

      Most any Picea pungens cultivar should be suitable, such as:
      ‘Fat Albert’ – large tree
      ‘Hoopsi’ – large tree
      ‘Montgomery’ (R.H.Montgomery) – dwarf
      ‘Procumbens’ – dwarf spreading

      Other spruce that should work for you include,
      Picea glauca densata – tree
      Picea glauca ‘Pendula’ – narrow, upright, pendulous lateral branches

      Select cultivars of Pinus mugo will survive too:
      ‘Valley Cushion’ are all slow growing, mounding forms.

      A great upright mugo is Pinus mugo ‘Tannenbaum’

      A visit to your local fine gardening center should provide you with other alternative as well.



  2. I have been searching for a retailer that carrier dwarf conifers and patio container conifers in North Carolina. Can anyone help with this?


    1. My friends in the mid-west will bring their container gardens into an unheated garage for the winter months. Some folks will bury their containers in the soil during the winter, I know of others who have simply built a sort of cold frame to overwinter their containers. Check with local garden clubs, independent garden centers or online gardening forums to see what works in your area.


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