I love my Twinkle Toes

Since the local weather forecasters are all predicting that we will warm into the lower 80s today, I thought I’d better get to my favorite garden center early while it was still cool. (And by cool, I mean that we were totally covered with clouds and there was a very fine but steady mist falling.)

I arrived at the GC with really nothing in mind to purchase, I suppose I just wanted to hang out with the plant folks there, see what was new and exciting, and maybe even find something on sale. What I ended up with has really got me excited! I found something so new, so rare that I don’t know how I was able to find it. First though, let me run through some of the other goodies I found. Yes, I know, I already have some of these in my garden, but… well, I think you know; I’m a hopeless conifer addict (that’s a good thing, right?)

I found the cutest little Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Butter Ball’. I had always thought that ‘Butter Ball’ would remain in its ball shape – the two little guys I’ve had for a couple years have stayed that way. But this one is larger to begin with – even larger than the two I have now – and it appears more like a soft serve ice cream cone with a bit of a pointed top. So I called my friends over at Iseli, and sure enough, as they mature and get a little size to them (which, being miniatures, I’m talking less than 18 inches in any direction) they do begin to become somewhat broadly conical in shape. This little fella is on its way now and is quite the cutie!

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Gemstone'

I also found a beautiful Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gemstone’. Now this one I know is supposed to be a miniature upright grower, and it is off to a great start. Its tiny dark green foliage and compact, irregular  form make it a gorgeous companion to the ‘Butter Ball’ – I’ll be planting them near one another in the rock garden.

Finally, (I am so excited I can hardly type) I found a brand new plant called, Cryptomeria japonica ‘Twinkle Toes’. This is one that Iseli has been evaluating for a number of years under the name of C.j. [Tansu Yellow Sport] because it was discovered as a mutated branch growing on a larger ‘Tansu’. With very tight and congested foliage, this golden irregular upright is somewhat of a conically shaped plant and will be a real treasure in my garden. I had seen this plant during its evaluation years at Iseli, but I didn’t know that they had named it and had begun to release a few for sale. I’m glad my favorite local garden center was willing to experiment with something so rare and unusual. Apparently one of the employees was trying to wager a bet with the others that I would snatch this thing up the moment I saw it – she was right!

Cryptomeria japonica 'Twinkle Toes'
‘Twinkle Toes’ makes my toes curl with excitment!

Good thing my birthday is coming up, I’m sure I can convince my wife that these great new plants will negate any responsibility she may feel to purchase me a present. Otherwise I may have to give up my autumn garden budget since the spring and summer plants purchases have already slightly surpassed their allocated funds. It’s all worth it though – I love conifers!

Conifer Lover

4 thoughts on “I love my Twinkle Toes

  1. Wow! If the yellow foliage on that Cryptomeria doesn’t burn in full sun, I’d like to get my hands on it too! Perfect size! Any idea how available it is among either retail or wholesale nurseries?


    1. Rudy, I know that they grow them in a partial shade house at Iseli, but the one I have been watching is in the display garden in full sun. It seems that in my corner of the Pacific Northwest it will do well in full sun. Your mileage may vary. Also, keep in mind that it’s mother plant, ‘Tansu’ is rated at Zone 6. It will likely be placed in partial afternoon shade at my place when I make my final decision on its new location.


      1. Availability? I’d suggest you talk your local garden center folks into ordering one for you. I think I may have gotten one of the first ones out the door.


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