Electricity, bacon and burned hair

Ever have one of those dreams that seems so real that it lingers with you for hours – or even days? I had one a few nights ago, and it’s still haunting my thoughts. Not that it was a nightmare, it was just so strange and yet so real. Maybe it was real – but it couldn’t have been.

The day had begun just like any other. I met a good friend at my favorite coffee shop on Main Street, we talked about his new job, his new wife and his garden. I’ve been giving him landscaping suggestions and advice for a number of years. Two houses and two wives later, he’s beginning to really enjoy gardening – it’s something they enjoy doing together.

Pinus strobus 'Mini Twists'
‘Mini Twists’ provides an unusual texture and soothing color to the garden.

Anyway, we discussed several different plants that day, but one captured his attention more than any other that I suggested. Pinus strobus ‘Mini Twists’ is an exciting small tree with long, twisted, blue-green needles. The unusual twisted appearance of the needles makes me wonder if the little fella stuck his fingers in the electric outlet causing his hair to become frizzled! Overall, ‘Mini Twists’ will add an interesting texture to the garden – soft and coarse at the same time. Its dwarf growth rate will enable it to fit into most gardens, and it does respond well to a little candle pruning should a more compact form be desired.

In my dream, this same friend and I were strolling through my garden and I had just promised to give him my ‘Mini Twists’ in a small container. Suddenly, the air began to fill with electricity, I noticed the hair raising on my forearms, a very strange odor filled the air – like bacon and burned hair – and my inventor friend appeared right before us, his hair smoking and frizzed out.

“I’m sorry, Ed – I’m really, really sorry!” he said as he grabbed the ‘Mini Twists’ container out of my hands and disappeared in a flash of electricity, bacon and burned hair.

At that instant I awoke, my eyes wide open, my heart pounding and I must have vocally expressed my confusion because my wife suggested that if I was going to use that kind of language, I’d best get out of bed and join the navy. Even today, the memory still lingers and every once in a while I seem to catch a whiff of burned hair and bacon.

Pinus strobus 'Mini Twists'
Delicate looking bi-color needles of ‘Mini Twists’ make it a very special plant.

I still haven’t figured out what message my subconscious was trying to convey, but I think that I’d better make sure I have a couple of ‘Mini Twists’ in my garden just in case they become extremely valuable in some future economy!

Sleep well.

Conifer Lover

Wicked sick

The other day, I had a phone call from my inventor friend.

“So, how’s that time machine coming along?” I asked with just a slight tone of whimsy in my voice.

“Oh… so you didn’t notice?”

“Notice what?”

“Never mind – probably best no one ever finds out.” He said and changed the subject. “Hey, Ed, I’m going to send my boy over to your place to pick up some soil samples, ok?”

“Sure, what are you up to now?”

“I am not at liberty to discuss it yet, but rest assured, it will have no global effect.” He said in his calm, monotone voice.

I chuckled just a little and asked if while he was doing whatever it was he was going to do with my soil samples, if he could include some ph and nutritional tests for me. He was happy to write down my request.

Five minutes later, his boy rolls up my driveway on his custom built industrial tricycle complete with attached trailer containing three five gallon buckets and a shovel.

“Hey Buddy – how’s it going?”


“What’s your dad up to this time?”

“Don’t know.”

I’m beginning to learn that he has his father’s gift for conversation. He asks where he can dig and I show him three locations around my property that I wouldn’t mind some soil being removed. He then proceeds to fill each bucket up to the top with soil. I begin to wonder what in the world his father could be up to when he takes notice of one of my conifers down the path from where he is digging.

Pinus mugo 'Jakobsen'
A young Pinus mugo 'Jakobsen' beginning to show its unique characteristics.

“Sick plant!”

“Well, actually it’s doing very well.” I say and proceed to tell him about the great qualities of my Pinus mugo ‘Jakobsen’.

“Yeah, wicked sick!” he tells me.

“Oh… so you like it?”

And who wouldn’t? ‘Jakobsen’ is a fantastic Dutch selection of the Mugo Pine. Very hardy to Zone 2, this dwarf conifer can grow almost anywhere in the USA. Unlike many new cultivars of Pinus mugo with their reliable, uniform mounding growth habits, ‘Jakobsen’ has quite a lot of character. With age it becomes an irregular, mounding, upright, small tree with a very unique clumping habit to its foliage which allows visual access to its thick silvery gray branches. Some describe it as having “natural bonsai” characteristics. Although I can see their point, I believe it would still require a little human interaction to achieve a real garden bonsai type form, but its natural habit certainly does inspire one to take pruners in hand to encourage a more artistic aesthetic. I also love its rich dark green needles and its dwarf habit. If you are looking for something, “wicked sick” for your garden, I have it on good authority that ‘Jakobsen’ is the plant for you.

Conifer Lover