“Mr. Remsrola, I’ve been expecting you.”
These words startled me just a little as I entered the office at Iseli Nursery the other day. I hadn’t actually made an appointment, nor had I intended to visit the Iseli gardens on this particular day. So you can imagine my surprised response to those words as I was about to check in with the receptionist. My photographer friend, Mr. Smith, had seen me arrive and positioned himself just out of sight of the front door. Disguising his voice with a sharp, gravelly tone, the sound of those words truly made me jump.
As it turned out, Mr. Smith had been expecting me. He was certain that I would be showing up to tour the gardens now that spring has finally enticed almost all the plants to flush their new growth. There we were, both of us in an adventurous mood, so we made our way out to the Jean Iseli Memorial Garden, he with camera in hand, me carrying only my enthusiasm.
All the rain and mild temperatures that we have enjoyed over the past few weeks has encouraged the conifers to push an abundance of their lush, colorful new growth. Small cones of quite an assortment of size and color were spotted on many plants. Some, like the Picea abies ‘Pusch’ had grown considerably since my last brief visit. Like mine at home, they had nearly tripled in size from when they were at their apex of color and had faded to mostly greenish with red highlights on the edges of the cone scales.
The Abies koreana ‘Ice Breaker’ that I mentioned a few posts back, then with its buds still closed tight and coated in hard resin, had pushed most of its ¾ inch annual growth and the needles were beginning to unfurl. This is one tiny little conifer that will be worth the wait for it to become readily available!
The next thing I saw, which not only gave us both a jolt of excitement, but something that neither of us could remember observing before – at least to the extent we witnessed on that day. We noticed that the second foliar push on the Picea glauca ‘Pixie Dust’, which we all normally expect to be butter yellow – was red! With careful observation we could clearly see that the red color was quickly fading to the yellow of our expectations. Perhaps the red would last a day as the new buds swelled and began to push. When I arrived home, I immediately gave my ‘Pixie Dust’ a visit finding the very same tiny red tips of new foliage beginning to develop and fading to yellow with a day or two of age.
Overall, it was quite a successful visit and we both learned something new about our amazing world of conifers.