Sugar coated conifers

We had another little snowstorm breeze through the other day. It was one of those kinds of snows that we typically get here in the Willamette Valley (unlike that big snowfall we had in December of ’08). This time, there was just enough snow to powder coat the conifers in my garden as with sugar. I remember a year ago, I wrote in the blog about the snow looking like it was whipped cream plopped over the garden. I wonder if there is a trend developing?

Sugar coated conifers
Sugar coated conifers

The December snow was beautiful and it did make for an interesting landscape, but it did bury all but my largest conifers. This little dusting was just enough to make nice highlights in the garden. What I particularly enjoyed was the way the snow enhanced my container garden.

Miniature conifers make great container plants. In my climate, I rarely become concerned with the temperatures dropping low enough for a long enough period of time to wreck havoc on my ceramic pots. Years ago, I would plant annuals and occasionally perennials in my containers. One day it occurred to me that my containers could be enjoyed all year long if I planted them with dwarf and miniature conifers!

Now my patio is becoming nearly as full as the rest of my garden as I fill more and more of its space with containers of all kinds filled with diminutive conifers and companion plants. My patio is a great place to display these containers with their year-round color and texture provided by conifers.

Conifer Lover

Thanks to my friends at Iseli for the photo!

Fanciful garden gems

I’ve just been digging through some catalogs both online and in print, and I am getting pumped up and ready to plant some new dwarf and miniature conifers in my garden. There is no doubt that I love the large and stately trees that fill our forests and parks, but my special love is for the dwarfs and miniatures. Honestly, what’s not to love about these delightfully small, low maintenance, colorful and hardy conifers?

A simple Patio Garden using dwarf conifers and other exciting plants.

My rock garden area is getting full, and the tiny plants that I intend to acquire will be too small for other open areas in my garden, so I am going to focus on containers for these fanciful little garden gems. Miniature conifers are perfect with the current trend in container and patio gardens. Once I decide whether I’d like a more formal looking patio garden using manufactured ceramic or terracotta pots, or a rustic look created with handmade hypertufa troughs, my next task will be deciding on which of the wonderful miniature conifers to include in the design.

Hypertufa trough garden using dwarf conifers and other miniature or creeping plants.

I’ve compiled a list of miniature or dwarf forms for my new containers. In a few years when some of the faster growing cultivars are getting too large, I’ll find a place for them in my garden. In the mean time, these little beauties will add a lot to my patio space.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Butter Ball’
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Cumulus’
Picea abies ‘Tompa’
Picea glauca ‘Pixie Dust’
Pinus leucodermis ‘Smidtii’
Pinus strobus ‘Sea Urchin’
Thuja occidentalis ‘Golden Tuffet’
Tsuga canadensis ‘Betty Rose’

Come on SPRING!

Conifer Lover

Thanks to Iseli Nursery for the photo links!