79 degrees in the shade


We have finally had a few days in a row of sunny and warm weather. After the month of March and its cold snow showers and April with its cold rain showers, May is beginning to show true signs of spring. This past Sunday afternoon, while my wife and I were enjoying the first grill of the season, I noticed that the large thermometer on the wall under the patio cover read 79°F. It felt as if we had skipped spring and jumped directly into summer. Today we expect a high near 70, tomorrow 61 – and the showers return.

Abies koreana 'Silver Show'
The spring, female cones of Abies koreana ‘Silver Show’ do put on quite a show. From a relatively young age, an abundance of showy cones cover many branches of this silvery-green tree.

We made good use of the great weather and spent a lovely few hours planting many of the little conifers I have grafted over the past two years. They look so happy now that they have a more permanent home in my garden. We also had time to plant several veggies into the four raised beds I had prepared two weeks ago. In that time, the soil warmed up very nicely, so I am confident that my lettuce, peas, beans, spinach and Brussels sprouts settled in nicely to their new homes.

Pinus pumila 'Blue Dwarf'
Pinus pumila ‘Blue Dwarf’ is a slow growing, bluish colored, soft textured pine with the reliable appearance of bright pinkish-red pollen cones in spring.

This small blast of very desirable weather has had a positive effect in the garden and I am seeing so much activity, not only in my plants, but all the garden critters have been active and full of life. Shortly after I worked up the soil in the vegetable garden, one of the squirrels took advantage of the soft, fluffy soil and planted a few seeds of his own. I look forward to seeing what pops out of the ground there.

Picea abies 'Pusch'
Discovered as a witches’ broom on Picea abies ‘Acrocona’, known for its prolific, brightly colored cone production, Picea abies ‘Pusch’ is a small mounding, spreading dwarf form with showy, brightly colored cones each spring. It looks great planted with other colorful garden plants.

With buds breaking and fresh new, brightly colored foliage beginning to emerge from many of my conifers along with a prolific number of conifer flowers – the colorful male and female cones that make their appearance in springtime  – my garden is waking up and transforming from the subdued colors of winter, like a painting by Camille Pissarro, into the vibrant colors of spring in Monet’s Garden. As I stroll through my garden, I enjoy finding a new cone here or a new push of growth there. Soon, the garden will truly explode with color as all the conifers burst forth with their new growth.

Pinus mugo 'Orphir'
Pinus mugo ‘Orphir’ is a sturdy mugo pine that turns a rich gold during the cold winter months. In spring, as the needles return to their green color, bright lemon-yellow pollen cones make their appearance extending the season of yellow color of this unique dwarf pine.

It seems to be a very long time since we have had a sunny and warm month of May. These past few days have reminded me how much a warm spring day can bring healing to old aching bones and delight to the heart and soul.

Abies koreana 'Green Carpet'
Abies koreana ‘Green Carpet’ is a grass-green, spreading, dwarf conifer that is highlighted in spring with purple cones which persist through summer, eventually drying and releasing their seeds.

May your garden be lush and full of life,

Conifer Lover

10 thoughts on “79 degrees in the shade

  1. Pinus pumila ‘Blue Dwarf’ is one of my favorite conifers. I like its irregular shape & it’s color in my garden. I have it growing near a P.p. ‘Jeddeloh’. It will be interesting to see how they grow in close proximity.


    1. Although rain is not in our forecast for the next week or so, the temperature has dropped to where we expect a high near 60 today. But, the extended outlook suggests we will warm back up over the weekend, which will be followed by rain once again. Historically, when we have had beautiful May weather, June rains most of the month. Time will tell.

      GREAT looking P.p. ‘Neimetz’ – that must be one of the best I have ever seen!
      I have a few young grafts of one labeled, P.p. ‘Fruhlingsgold’, but from what I have seen of these two, they look identical – may be the same cultivar.(?)


  2. I also like the blog. I bought recently a picea pungens glauca globosa, a tsuga canadensis jeddeloh and a cedrus deodora golden horizon that I planted together around a rock (I´m just an amateur). I also planted some acer palmatum: Shirazz, viridis, bloodgood, orange dream, benishihendge, dissectum garnet, all together, in front of two camellias. However, I´m thinking about planting a conifer next to the acer palmatum but I´m not sure.
    I saw a pretty tsuga canadensis pendula and a metasequoia glyptostroboides golden rush in a nursery, although there are not so many conifer varieties here in the nurseries of the northwest of Spain.


    1. Hi Luis – Thank you for your comments! It is nice to have you visit from Spain. I have always loved the pictures I have seen of your country. I understand there are some very lovely gardens in Spain.


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