During April and May many conifers put on vivid displays. This can be from new growth, from their candles or from their cones.
In the garden, two of them are standing out right now.
Abies concolor ‘Candicans’
The first is Abies concolor ‘Candicans’, or White Fir. This is supposed to be a tall upright tree, but the one we have decided that it wanted to be almost pendulous, so it is growing along the ground. We shall see what it does as it gets older, but sincerely hope it does not grow to be 30′ to 50′. It has needles that are as blue as a Blue Spruce, but right now it is the candles that are the striking thing about it. They are about 2 to 3 inches long and bright purple.
Picea pungens ‘Gebelle’s Golden Spring’
The second is Picea pungens ‘Gebelle’s Golden Spring’ or Colorado Blue Spruce. The growth on this plant is a vivid lemon color that contrasts against the mature blueish green. This dual color can last for about 6 weeks until the new growth transitions to green. This plant will remain fairly compact, topping out around 10′ to 12′.
This was our living Christmas tree for 2018. Jesse and I have live trees for Christmas each year and normally, now would be the time we would be scouring the nurseries for that year’s tree. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen this year which means that we will not be able to select our conifer addition based on these characteristics.
Most of our conifers are planted in the same basic area – we call it the Conifer Forest. This is just the other side of the Portal. It was sited there because this is one type of plant that deer leave alone and thus do not have to protect them behind a fence. The Picea was planted before the forest was created and it is located at the bottom of the first set of steps that lead to the Tea House and Contemplation Garden.