One thing I love about the end of January is the nursery and seed catalogs begin to arrive in my mailbox. This always launches the debate in our family about how much of our garden budget will go to conifers and how much will be designated to new flower seed. My wife and I immediately agreed that this year we would devote a little more space and time to growing fresh vegetables. There is nothing like a fresh tomato or ear of corn right out of the garden.
Then I had a fun idea – I suggested we start a lollipop garden.
I’m certain you have seen them – those little lollipop looking topiaries sculpted out of everything from ivy to herbs, and yes, conifers. One advantage with conifers is that if you choose a good dwarf or miniature that has been grafted on an 18 to 30 inch “standard,” you will have a very minimum amount of care to keep it small and manageable for many years.
For example, imagine planting a silvery blue Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ that appears as a blue ball floating above the soil and then filling the space under it with an assortment of colorful flowers. Or, if you prefer container gardening and your desire is to brighten up your patio or deck, you could choose from green, orange, yellow or blue low-maintenance conifers grafted on standards. Then, plant your new lollipop in the center of a well-made ceramic pot and fill in around it with flowers of varying colors and heights. Better yet, replace the flowers with other colorful conifers for a low maintenance year-round color display.
Don’t let the cold and dreary days of winter stop you from planning your spring gardening adventures and imagine a crop of colorful conifer lollipops brightening your own special place.