Like love at first sight, today’s two little conifers seem to be a perfect pair for the miniature garden. Names like, ‘Hobbit’, ‘Pixie’, ‘Oberon’, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and even ‘Rainbow’s End’ all suggest whimsical characters of fairy tales and folklore, and that certainly is the case with my two selections of mini-conifers today.
Inspired by the literary fairy tale, Thumbelina, by Hans Christian Andersen, Picea abies ‘Thumbelina’ is a tiny little sweetheart with short green needles which completely cover this slow growing little mound. When purchased in one of those cute little pots available at your favorite independent garden center, ‘Thumbelina’ can grow for many years in a miniature garden before overstaying her welcome.
One of the most popular and reoccurring species of magical creature described by many authors for literally hundreds of years is the Elf. Perhaps most widely known are Santa’s Elves working at the North Pole, or the Elves of Tolkien’s stories of Middle Earth, but even Harry Potter inherited a House Elf.
Picea glauca ‘Elf’ is one of the smallest, slowest growing and all around cutest of the miniature mutations originating from the Dwarf Alberta Spruce. Tiny, thin, grass-green needles cover the small, half-dome, globe-shaped plant. Absolutely perfect for miniature theme gardens of any kind, ‘Elf’ is a magical match for ‘Thumbelina’ and when grown in a container, or any type of miniature garden, they complement each other nicely and play well with other miniature plants in combinations to satisfy every gardener.
Container gardening is a great choice for folks without a lot of space. As full-fledged miniature gardens become more popular, very slow growing, colorful, miniature conifers should find new homes in more places around the world. Consider giving a miniature conifer or two as gifts this holiday season – or using them in your own decorating – I know I will.