Help Me Stop Buying Variegated Conifers

Pinus parviflora ‘Goldilocks’ — Could I grow this in a pot on my patio, do you think?

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.

Should I?

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.)

Continue reading