There’s a whole lotta pollinatin’ goin’ on!

My cat likes to begin his day almost exactly an hour and a half before I do. Most mornings he is patient and waits until 15 or 20 minutes before my alarm goes off to jump onto the bed and begin his purring. This morning he couldn’t wait and he began to massage my chest with the kneading motion of his paws, which incidentally made me very aware that it is time for his claws to be trimmed as a few of their needle sharp tips found their way to my bare flesh.



Now that I was awake, I could hear the birds singing and smell the fresh scent of early summer drifting in through the partially open window. It was definitely lighter than nighttime, but surely it wasn’t time to get up yet, was it? I checked my clock. Nope, the alarm would not begin to chime for over an hour yet! I went ahead and crawled out of bed, ran through my morning routine and realized that even though it had rained a little overnight and the sky was full of clouds, the temperature was not too bad, so I proceeded to enjoy my granola and fresh fruit out on my patio.

I love the lower viewing perspective when I am on my hands and knees, pulling weeds or digging in the soil and adding new plants in the garden.

Some birds were continuing to sing, but not the full choir that I had heard earlier. A pair of squirrels were already busily prancing around on the thick carpet in the Douglas fir grove while a Stellar Jay dropped by the birdbath, took a quick drink and flew up into one of the tall Western Red cedars. The morning air was cool, but quite humid and I was comfortable in just a t-shirt and vest. I breathed in the sweet scent of an Azalea on my neighbor’s side of the fence, which mixed nicely with the woodsy scent of my conifers and the natural mulch created by years of old needles being shed from the small grove of giant Douglas firs nearby. The distant soft roar of morning traffic reminded me of the sound of the ocean, or perhaps a river, not too far off.

Having spent much of the past weekend catching up on weeding the front garden, I realized that a fair amount of work remained in the back and a pleasant morning like this one was the perfect time to dive in. I finished my breakfast, poured a large ice tea to carry with me in the garden, donned my gloves and in moments I was on my hands and knees digging around the soil, removing weeds and discovering new volunteer seedlings popping up here and there.

Many exciting new garden plants begin their lives as chance seedlings that are spotted by a watchful eye, nurtured and grown for years, before finding their way into commercial production. Others begin as growth mutations that are propagated and again, observed for years, before becoming marketable plants.

I love it when my garden plants drop seeds and they manage to germinate in my garden. Most often, the seedlings grow very much like the species trees. Once in a while, a seedling will exhibit dwarf or other interesting features and is worth growing and further observation. With the great selection of unique and unusual cultivars of conifers and Japanese maples in my garden, there is bound to be a lot of cross-pollination going on, opening the door to the possibility of some new and exciting plants to be found in these many naturally occurring seedlings.

Last spring one very unique looking Japanese maple seedling germinated among the 12 or 15 that came to life in my garden. I was happy to see that it had survived the winter and still looks like a unique new cultivar with its new growth this year. Time will tell if it actually becomes something worth propagating and sharing with others, but for now, it is fun to watch it grow and I will need to decide on a place to move it since it sprouted up right next to one of my blueberry plants.

Keep an eye out as you are weeding your gardens, you never know what exciting new plants you may discover!

Conifer Lover

7 thoughts on “There’s a whole lotta pollinatin’ goin’ on!

    1. Hi Charlie, my garden is for too humble for garden tours. Most all of the photos in my blog posts are provided to me by my good friends at Iseli Nursery and are of the Jean Iseli Memorial Garden. I just let them know what I am writing about and they provide images that fill my needs perfectly.


  1. As a horticulturist and propagation kind of guy, looking for unusual seedling is my business too. I live in WI and am still able to grow some Acer palmatum, Emperor 1 made it through this last years brutal winter where we had 30 days consecutive days and nights of below 0º temperatures as did some Acer palmatum seedlings from seed I collected in Bayeux, France in 2007. No seed yet.

    I also Grow 6 different varieties of Acer Acer pseudosieboldianum, the Korean Maple which hybridize freely. I have found many different forms of seedlings of the Korea maple in my garden, one with vibrant green stems and leaves different from the rest. I’m always looking for unusual seedlings.


    1. Hi Gary – Congratulations on your ‘Emperor 1’ surviving this past winter in Wisconsin! I know that a couple of pseudosieboldianum x palmatum hybrids that Iseli has released, ‘North Wind’ and ‘Avalanche’ came through the winter unscathed in Minnesotta, Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine and Quebec, so these Koren/Japanese hybrids have great potential to bring grace and beauty to the northern regions.


  2. Thanks for the reply. I didn’t know that ‘North Wind’ and ‘Avalanche’ were hybrids. I’ve seen ‘North Wind’ and wasn’t impressed but being it’s a hybrid, I think I’ll put one in my garden. I’ve yet to see ‘Avalanche’.
    I was surprised Emperor 1 made it through the last Winter. I lost Ulmus parvifolia ‘Allee’ and Zelkova ‘Green Vase’ so they are definitely not Zone 4. They grew fine for 5 years but couldn’t withstand the extended cold we had last winter.
    Acer pseudosieboldianum var.Takamesnsis came through with flying colors though. I was surprised since it comes from an island off Korea. All my maple books that list it guessed at zone 6 but the one I have is really hardy. It’s a very upright cultivar with purple fall foliage. It’s growing like crazy this year compared to the slower growth of Acer pseudosieboldianum. We’ve had a lot of rain and I’m in the upper middle of Wisconsin with very sandy acid soil. An old lake form the last glacier.


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