The other day I was in an enthusiastic conversation with one of my gardening friends. This gal absolutely loves her flowers as much as I love my conifers. We like to kid each other about the superiority of our selected favorites and why they are superior to the others. In our last debate I was bragging about the twelve months of color available in the conifer garden as opposed to her short season flowers.
I was making some headway with her as she did admit that without conifers, her own garden would look barren from late fall through early spring. Just then she launched a challenge to me; one she was confident that she would win without much of a contest. She challenged me to come up with a list of conifers that would include the seven colors of the rainbow; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
My friend looked at me with the smile of confidence that she had won. I must have turned a little red in the face as my eyes rolled to the sky and I began to visualize all the colorful conifers in my garden and others I’ve seen elsewhere. She started to chuckle just a little bit and told me there was no way I’d be able to do it.
“Obviously you aren’t restricting me to foliage color, right? The vast majority of color in your garden comes from the flowers, not the foliage.” I clarified.
“Fine, fine” she said, “I still don’t think you can do it!”
Here is the list I rattled off much to her surprise:
Picea abies ‘Rubra Spicata’ for its bright red new foliar growth.
Thuja occidentalis ‘Golden Tuffet’ is really more orange than gold, especially in the winter.
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is one of the brightest yellows you can find.
Tsuga heterophylla ‘Thorsen’s Weeping’ for its rich green color and dense form.
Pinus leucodermis ‘Indigo Eyes’ has the most amazing indigo cones
Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’ is possibly the brightest blue conifer available.
Abies koreana ‘Green Carpet’ for its purple cones and great low spreading habit.
So, what was my reward for winning the contest? She punched me in the arm and made me pay for the coffee!