Category Archives: Conifers

Its been one year.

July 2015, my family and I packed up our worldly belongings and headed north to Portland Oregon. Claire, Goldie the goldfish, Suzie Q our dog and I in the car. Mark and our bunny Amelia in a Uhaul. It felt like a mad dash to get on the road but once we did the miles slipped by and we fell into travel time with Goldie the first to shout out “Are we there yet?”.

We spent the 4th of July in Marin County with fine friends and a killer view.
We spent our last California 4th of July in Marin County with fine friends and a killer view.
Goodby Lyon Avenue. You taught us much.
Goodby Lyon Avenue!

A few weeks before the move I loaded up the truck with my pruning ladder and 30 trees. I had big plans for them in Oakland and now I have big plans for them in Portland! I covered them with burlap and they made the drive with only a few burnt leaves and lived happily with my sister in Portland until I could catch up to them.

There are 30 trees packed into the bed of that truck. Mostly conifers and a few maples.
There are 30 trees packed into the bed of the truck. Mostly conifers and a few maples.
We were pleasantly surprised by the view outside of our new apartment window. We had definitely arrived in Oregon. Land of big trees to say the least.
We were pleasantly surprised by the view outside of our new apartment window. We had definitely arrived in Oregon. Land of big trees to say the least.
The Great Northwest.
The Great Northwest. Our journey begins!

The rest of the summer flew by in a whirlwind of unpacking boxes, keeping Claire busy and getting use to the hot summer weather. In September I was off to The American Conifer Society national meeting in Petaluma CA. It didn’t take long for me to go back to California! In October I was off to Durham NC to participate as an instructor for the NAJGA regional workshop at the Duke Gardens in the newly installed Pine Clouds Mountain Stream garden. Before long the holidays descended and Claire got to play in the snow and eat ice off of the fir trees.

Fir Ice
Yum?

We made it through our first winter and enjoyed the crazy growth that comes with a North West spring.

This maple has been sheared into a ball for quite a few years. This is the resulting spring push. It now belongs to me and my family so keep a look out for future progress photos.
This maple has been sheared into a ball for quite a few years. This is the resulting spring push. It now belongs to me and my family so keep a look out for future progress photos as I attempt to return it to a natural form.
This is the view of that crazy maple from inside. Beautiful trunks framed by the window.
A view of that crazy maple from inside. It has beautiful trunks framed by the window. This is the primary viewpoint for this tree.

This brings me back to July. One year later. It has been a wild year. I miss everyone in California, my home for 15 years. But Portland has welcomed us with open arms and we are so happy to be here!

Maple and Moss
Maple and Moss

Go Wild with Conifers at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show!

This year I had the honor of presenting with Sara Malone (of Form and Foliage) at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. We talked about the various conifers that are perfect to grow in Northern California and how to take care of them once you do. We had some wonderful examples of trees with us and a ton of great photo’s but I was really impressed with the amount of questions and interest from the audience. If I didn’t mention it then I will say it now. Don’t worry, my experience tells me Conifer Syndrome does not happen quickly but builds slowly until one day your realize you have rows of conifers in pots waiting to be planted. It only took about six months for me. Nothing to worry about at all.

Its been six months since we gave the presentation… In California, fall is the perfect time to get those trees in the ground. Are you ready?

Start your pruning plan early.
Start your pruning plan early.
These pines work well to add structure, texture and color all while keeping eager tourists out of the planting beds.
These pines work well to add structure, texture and color all while keeping eager tourists out of the planting beds.
The natural from of this cultivar is to be thick and full but in an urban situation it also need to be open so people can't hid behind it. A more open tree also lets light and air get to the back of the tree to keep those shaded branches alive.
The natural from of this cultivar is to be thick and full but in an urban situation it also need to be open so people can’t hid behind it. A more open tree also lets light and air get to the back of the tree to keep those shaded branches alive.
With the tree more open, the back and lower branches will stay alive and grow to fill out space. I love the play of light and shadow against the wall.
With the tree more open, the back and lower branches will stay alive and grow to fill out the space. I love the play of light and shadow against the wall.

 

Conifer Garden

I have caught the conifer bug.  My recent membership to the American Conifer Society has opened my eyes to a whole world of shape, texture, color and intrigue. It satisfies every curiosity from macro to micro aesthetics and I have a feeling this is just the beginning. Here are a few photos from a recent ACS Western Regional meeting in Olympia WA.  For more amazing conifers  check out my gallery.  Warning – Conifer addiction could happen to you too!

Cedrus libani 'Green Prince'
Cedrus libani ‘Green Prince’ Photo taken at Albers Vista Gardens of Kitsap WA.
Leftover cones from Abies squamata. Albers Vista Gardens of Kitsap WA
Leftover cones from Abies squamata. Albers Vista Gardens of Kitsap WA
I was captivated by the curly branches of Larix kaempferi 'Diana'.
I was captivated by the curly branches of Larix kaempferi ‘Diana’.
Amazing contrast on the Abies koreana 'Ice Breaker'
Amazing contrast on the Abies koreana ‘Ice Breaker’
Cedrus atlantica 'Sapphire Nymph'. Beautiful blue and wonderful contrast in scale.
Cedrus atlantica ‘Sapphire Nymph’. Beautiful blue and wonderful contrast in scale.
Of course, the always beautiful leaf and color of the Ginkgo.
Of course, the always beautiful leaf and color of the Ginkgo. Ceonosium Gardens