A giant gnome’s hat

There is just something about gardening that inspires in me visions of whimsical creatures like fairies, gnomes and the like. Perhaps it’s my love for the dwarf and miniature conifers. As I work with delightfully small versions of our giant forest trees, I am often reminded of the stories from my youth about the magical and often mischievous sprites of ancient folklore.

Picea omorika 'Nana'

Last week I was introducing a new friend to my conifer garden and his young son asked me where the gnomes live. My friend and I laughed a little about this inquiry, and then I asked the young lad why he thought gnomes were living in my garden. Pointing down the path about 60 feet or so toward my Picea omorika ‘Nana’, he said, “Cuz one of ’em left his hat over there.” Sure enough, my specimen of about 18 years looks very much like a gnome’s hat – a really big gnome that is.

The Dwarf Serbian spruce makes a great garden tree with its classic conical shape, blue-green foliage and low maintenance tidy habit. ‘Nana’ is also hardy to Zone 4, so I know it would be popular with the folks in those very cold winter regions around the USA and other parts of the world. Growing at a rate of three or four inches per year in my climate, it is definitely a dwarf compared to its parent tree. But if it survives for 300 years, it could potentially be quite a giant itself.

Conifer lover

Thanks again to the good folks at Iseli for the photo links.

The beauty of winter

We had a very nice holiday and even saw snow late on Christmas day! Outside our local mountain ranges, we don’t get snow very often or in very large quantities here in the Pacific Northwest, but once in a while if you are at the right place at the right time…. snow is kind of a treat.

I have many friends living in parts of the country where snow and severe cold are what they expect and prepare for every winter. One good thing that I almost always hear from my colder-climate friends is how beautiful their conifers are when covered in snow!

Picea omorika 'Pimoko'

It’s such a rare occasion when I can enjoy the beauty of snow, that I get pretty excited when I find a conifer that almost looks like it’s glistening with frost all year-round. Picea omorika ‘Pimoko’ is a great example of a plant that almost sparkles in the sunlight because many of its needles twist and turn upwards exposing their bright whitish undersides.

‘Pimoko’  forms a nice rounded mound when young, and as it matures, its irregular form really adds interest to the garden. A great conifer with a neat and tidy appearance.  New foliage emerges like small spring green florets and matures to expose the undersides appearing like polished silver that sparkles in the sunlight – and hardy to zone 4 – need I say….I love it!

Conifer Lover

Thanks to Iseli Nursery for the photo links!