Talk about a foolish new fetish! Since most conifers are sun-lovers, my yard (a haven for plants that love dry shade and poorly drained clay) is an inferior location for indulging my new fascination for these groovy gymnosperms.
So that’s the first problem.
Second, these specimen conifers are very expensive. I really shouldn’t be putting off replacing my broken garbage disposal just so I can drop $79 on a 3-gallon Pinus parviflora.
Third, if I acquire too many dwarf and/or variegated conifers, I am afraid my garden will begin to take on the dreaded “Disneyland Effect” much scorned by serious designers. After all, a garden filled with stiff, fussy specimen conifers is basically the outdoor equivalent of your granny’s cabinet of Precious Moments figurines.
I already have a dangerous affection for plants with unnaturally hued leaves. White or gold margins? Yes please! Chartreuse foliage? I’m in love! Gold speckles? Don’t mind if I do! (The exceptions are Golden Euonymus, which scorches my corneas, and ‘Crimson King’ Norway Maple, the World’s Most Depressing Tree.)
But so far, my taste for variegated/colored foliage hasn’t made my garden look too tacky. For example, my Light o’ Day hydrangea (white variegation) is clear on the other side of the yard from my Golden Dream Boxwood (gold variegation), so they don’t clash too hard. That could change, though, if I start hitting the specialty conifer websites as feverishly as I have been this weekend.
It’s these dwarf Pinus parviflora, especially, that have me enraptured. They come in all manner of colors and forms, from squat little muffins to windswept sculptures. Some have needles flecked with gold or cream, some are a lovely bluish-green, many are wonderfully twisted.
Anyway, let’s hope I’m able to keep my new conifer obsession in check before I break my bank account and turn my garden into a giant curio cabinet.