Nuggets of pure gold

My miniature container gardens have really come to life the past few weeks. All the dwarf and miniature conifers are pushing their new growth and the companion succulents and mini-heathers are performing admirably. Two of the hot spots in my containers right now are both miniature Hinoki Cypress cultivars selected for their bright gold foliage color and extremely slow growth rates.

Chamaecyparis obtusa Golden Sprite
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Golden Sprite'

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Golden Sprite’ has been a favorite of mine for many years. This little nugget of gold has tiny foliage that slowly grows into an irregularly shaped mound that is broader than tall. At fifteen years old, my oldest specimen is nearly 10 inches across and approximately seven inches tall. The foliage is so tight that I can barely stick a finger into this plant. I love its unusual mounded shape – this one really has a lot of character.

Chamaecyparis obtusa Butter Ball
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Butter Ball'

Another golden nugget of conifer joy is Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Butter Ball’. At first glance, you might think it’s identical to ‘Golden Sprite’, but upon closer inspection you’ll find that it is a more open grower giving it a chance to “breathe” a little bit. The tiny foliage is more a lemon-yellow color and it is noticeably looser than that of ‘Golden Sprite’ suggesting a slightly faster growth rate. Mine is still quite young, and it will have many more years in its current container before I will need to become concerned with transplanting it into the garden.

Both these little golden nuggets are valuable additions to my container garden. As they mature, I look forward to placing them in my rock garden (which will give me an excuse to purchase a couple more small ones to re-plant into containers.)

Conifer Lover

Urban gardener

I had an opportunity to visit an old friend at his condo in the city. My friend loves conifers and has been collecting them longer than I have. As we were chatting, and I was getting a tour of the place, we arrived at his balcony; a small space approximately four feet wide by twelve feet long with a wonderful view overlooking the city. The first thing I noticed were the containers filled with dwarf and miniature conifers.

Container Garden

He had turned his small patio into a container garden full of color. Being the end of March, with very little sign of life in the city, his containers filled with green and yellow and blue conifers were a delight. As we sat with warm cups of tea, we talked about the good old days and the great ones yet to come. As the sun moved around from behind a neighboring building, it warmed his little patio nicely and the colors of his conifers really came alive.

I’ve always told people that dwarf and miniature conifers are great for small spaces and year-round color. My friend put that same knowledge to good use and created a very pleasing space high above the busy streets below. I hope more urban dwellers will discover the joy of conifers and transform their balconies into colorful gardens too.

Conifer Lover

Thanks again to Iseli for the photo link!