Winter blues

“Look Ed, this whole episode about you and your ‘Montgomery’? Well, I don’t know what kind of spell you put on me, but I can’t get my mind off of your darn blue conifers!”

You can imagine the look on my face as I sat in my favorite coffee shop with my nemesis, The Flower Girl.

“Hahaha… oh c’mon, we like to tease each other a lot, but you’ve always appreciated conifers to some degree – haven’t you? I asked.

“Sure… to some tiny, little, microscopic degree yes, it’s true. I don’t know what it is though. Maybe the light was hitting my ‘Hoopsi’ just right the other day, but it was shining so bright  – and it was virtually the only color in my garden. I’ve just had some kind of new hunger for blue in my garden, and there sure aren’t any flowers that would produce that much effect in the dead of winter.”

Thinking to myself that the world of conifers had just won a major victory, I simply said, “I see… and how does that make you feel?” Which produced my friend’s trademark punch to my shoulder.

Of course I referred her to some of my past blog posts regarding great blue conifers including, Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’, Picea pungens ‘Procumbens’, and the blue dwarfs. But one in particular came to mind that I don’t believe I have mentioned in this space before. The Blue Nest Spruce.

At first glance, some may be lead to think that this delightful bluish/gray/green mound is a dwarf form of the Norway Spruce, Picea abies. A very old and popular cultivar called, ‘Nidiformis’ is commonly called the Bird’s Nest Spruce. But the cultivar I have in mind is actually from the Colorado Spruce, Picea pungens.

Picea pungens 'Waldbrunn'
Picea pungens ‘Waldbrunn’

‘Waldbrunn’ has a very fine texture created by its thin sharp needles. A low growing, almost spreading mound, ‘Waldbrunn’s color and form are both unique when compared with other compact versions of the Colorado spruce. In my friend’s garden, which is dominated by flowering perennials, annuals and shrubs, I would place ‘Waldbrunn’ in widely spaced conifer groupings to allow plenty of room for growth and to provide more winter interest in her otherwise empty winter garden. Planting near other blues of varying shapes and sizes will work nicely, since she is interested in adding more blue to her winter landscape. Placing near green (both bright and dark) or yellows, it will provide a pleasant color contrast without looking out of place. During the summer months, when flowers and Japanese maples are in their full color, ‘Waldbrunn’ provides a unique texture and color contrast.

I am thrilled to see my friend’s passion for conifers begin to awaken. I am very excited that during our visit she genuinely wanted me to tell her about three or four compact blue conifers that would work in her “cottage garden.” Not only that, but this time she picked up the bill at the coffee shop.

Conifer Lover

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