Magical Match

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.

‘Thumbelina’ is a delightfully slow growing conifer with tiny green needles covering the bun-shaped plant.

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.

This tiny ‘Elf’ is an enchanting addition to any kind of miniature garden.

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.

Conifer Lover

6 thoughts on “Magical Match

  1. Hi Ed… just saw your comment on my post… actually, the first picture is my North Wind but it hasn’t taken on full fall color yet… the second is a picture of a friend’s plant from a year ago, which I hope mine will emulate very soon in terms of fall color! I continue to enjoy and make use of your posts as I delve deeper into conifers with each passing season… I have 28 conifers ordered for next season, several of which will be miniatures.
    I do have a question and am wondering if you might have an opinion regarding this matter. We have very heavy rich loam here and this concerns me regarding the many conifers that need good drainage, particularly the miniature Korean spruces that I have ordered. I am thinking of using a clay fired product called Turface that is used for drainage on ball diamonds… it doesn’t break down over time. I suppose it’s similar to “sharp” sand only the granules are quite a bit larger. I was thinking of using it in some of the new rock garden areas I’m creating… any thoughts whether this might be a wise move? These conifers are expensive and I don’t want to risk them not making it! Thanks, Larry


  2. 28 conifers on order – that is exciting!

    The Turface looks interesting (and I am guessing not cheap). I would expect that it would help create a well-drained soil as most conifers do enjoy, but I wonder how much you would need to incorporate into your garden soil to be effective? You might try to check with others in your area with similar soil types and see what they may have with the product. I have no doubt that the people selling it believe in it wholeheartedly. I wonder if there are less expensive products that could provide much the same coarse texture to your soil? If your rock garden area will consist of building raised beds, I wonder it that may be sufficient to help with drainage?

    Let me know what you decide and how it all plays out for you.


    1. Thanks Ed… I will be raising the beds some to allow a better placement of the rocks. I was thinking that the Turface might work well under the miniature conifers as extra protection against “too wet soil”… I have used it in my epimedium and lady slipper beds and the danger appears to be overdoing it so will use caution… cost-wise it runs about $14 for 50 lbs… Larry


      1. I have thought about adding very coarse sand to rockery areas which feature some of my more prized minis and dwarfs, but my soil tends to be very well drained. I incorporate organic material and tend to aerate with my trowel when I pull weeds. If I wasn’t so blessed with this great soil, I might be tempted to do as you plan, specifically for the minis.

        Liked by 1 person

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