The fantastic four

This is the third morning that I’ve been able to spend time in my garden while enjoying the late winter sun. Yes, it’s been mostly sunny for three days in a row!

Sunny mornings can fill an old heart with joy. As I work to get the garden cleaned up and ready to come alive again, I hear birds singing and squirrels chasing each other through the trees that surround my property. We had some strong winds blow quite a lot of debris into my garden from those same large trees. As my wife and I pick up fallen boughs, I am finding very little damage to my conifers. I was most concerned about some of my miniature Chamaecyparis since they can be a little finicky in the best of conditions. I am happy to report that they are all doing very well.

There are four of these mini-Chams that look particularly good in my garden right now. All four would be considered miniature (except perhaps, ‘Just Dandy’ which would be on the slower growing end of the dwarf scale) as listed by the American Conifer Society. All four are rich dark green in color and each has its own unique growth habit or form.

Chamaecyparis obtusa Ellie B.
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Ellie B.’

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Ellie B.’ is a wonderful little plant with an upright growth habit. Its tightly held, shiny dark green foliage and slightly irregular form make it a nice miniature sculpture in the rock garden or containers.

Chamaecyparis obtusa Gnome - grafted on standard
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gnome’ – grafted on standard

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gnome’ like its name suggests is a very slow growing miniature conifer. Grown from cuttings, ‘Gnome’ is a very compact plant with tiny, dark green foliage which forms a small globe-shaped mound. Again, excellent in containers and the alpine or rock garden.

Chamaecyparis obtusa Just Dandy
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Just Dandy’

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Just Dandy’ is just that, “dandy.” The fastest of the four mini-Chams on the list today, but still remains a small green mound in the garden. Slow growing with small foliage and a slightly open habit which can help it “breathe” a little better than some other extremely compact conifers, this one is great in containers for a few years and then transplants well into the garden.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’ is one of my first conifer loves. Rich dark green foliage on a slow growing mounding plant that is slightly faster than ‘Ellie B,’ make this older selection a worthy addition to your garden.

Keep an eye out for these little beauties coming to a garden center near you!

Conifer Lover

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