It’s in the details

I was a young boy when my grandfather passed away. My grandfather was a simple man with few possessions. As my family went through the process of deciding what to keep and what to pass along, I ran across his magnifying glass. Nothing like the quality that I’m sure Sherlock Holmes would have used, but a smaller, more modest version of the instrument. My parents trusted me with that item and it remains useful to me today.

In my excitement for the arrival of spring, and the fact that we had an absolutely beautiful weekend, I decided it was time to grab my trusty old friend and see what developments I might find in my garden. As it turns out, Mr. Smith, my photographer friend at Iseli had the same inclination early this week, and I have decided to dedicate this blog post to some of his macro photography showing the amazing details that can be found in the conifer garden.

Abies koreana 'Ice Breaker'
The fascinating foliage of Abies koreana ‘Ice Breaker’ is very striking, but the buds remain quite tight. We’ll check back in on this one later.
Abies pinsapo 'Aurea'
The soft-yellow foliage of Abies pinsapo ‘Aurea’ is becoming highlighted with the brightly colored pollen cones. The seed cones are currently much smaller, appearing as tiny slender buds at this time.
Acer x pseudosieboldianum 'Arctic Jade'
This Korean/Japanese maple hybrid, Acer x pseudosieboldianum ‘Arctic Jade’, is a hardy new introduction. Its fuzzy, delicate new foliage and tiny red flowers are just beginning to emerge.
Picea glauca 'Pixie Dust'
Picea glauca ‘Pixie Dust’ is just beginning to break bud. Its first flush of tiny foliage will be bright green and harden to a darker color, followed in a few months by a second foliar push bringing the golden cream color we wait for each year.
Picea pungens 'St. Mary's Broom'
Finally, we present Picea pungens ‘St. Mary’s Broom’. Its expanding buds take on the appearance of tiny rosebuds. Perhaps this is what the Gnomes wear on their lapels, since a real rose would be far too large.

Grab your favorite magnifying device and have a look around your garden. You might just be surprised at what you will discover.

Conifer Lover

10 thoughts on “It’s in the details

  1. These photos are amazing. What a wonderful and different way to appreciate plants from a different angle. I love the story about your grandfather. For some reason, I love hearing stories about people’s grandparents. I think they give an interesting insight into the writer.


  2. Tell me more about the Korean maple hybrid. I have several of the species and I can attest to their cold hardiness versus many Acer palmatum varieties. What visible characteristics make ‘Arctic Jade’ different from the sieboldianum species? Some of my seedlings may be hybrids with palmatum but I don’t know for sure.


    1. Hi Bob,

      Below is a copy of my response to another reader in 2010. I really do not have any new information other than the evaluation process continues and there are two selections that will begin to make it to select garden centers, Acer x pseudosieboldianum ‘Arctic Jade’ and ‘North Wind’.

      “The hybridization of the japanese maples (Acer palmatum) and korean maple (Acer pseudosieboldianum) is very new and there is not likely going to be much information available about them yet. I just spoke with my propagator friend at Iseli that has been heading up the process. He wanted to emphasize that part of the long-term evaluation process is not only selecting plants with desirable asthetic features, but plants with proven durability including: hardiness, adaptability to various environmental conditions, resistance to pests and disease, etc.

      “One of the new cultivars, A. ps. ‘North Wind’ is being shipped for further evaluation in test gardens all over the USA. This one in particular looks very promising. Remember the hybridization and evaluation process is very time consuming. Although there may be a few plants making it out to independant garden centers in the near future, I may have allowed my excitment to get ahead of the plants becomming largely available anytime soon.”


  3. Just got my Abies koreana ‘Icebreaker’ yesterday from Bob Fincham!
    It’s a one-year-old, still on its understock.
    I can’t wait to watch it grow!


  4. I feel so fortunate to be “in his neighborhood”, a two-hour drive. I came home with nine plants, including Pinus parviflora ‘Tanima no yuki’ and Pinus leucodermis Smidt. Now looking for Picea pungens ‘The Blues’.


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