Category Archives: Fun with Conifers

Gardening with Dwarf Conifers for Mother’s Day

I celebrated my second Mother’s Day this year. Last year we spent the day on a five hour car ride, so this year my sweet Husband offered that we could do whatever I wanted. What I wanted was spend some time outside in my garden.

We decided to change up things in the front yard, so that meant these dwarf conifers were out of a home. We potted them up and then I went to work designing some color spots for the backyard patio.

Backyard Patio Container 2Backyard Container 1

Earlier this year I talked about garden inspirations. I posted that back when it was still just the beginning of winter. So many of us had such a long, cold winter that I could no longer imagine our space as crisp, green and white like I had envisioned. I want color. I want color now! What are some good ways to add color to your garden?

Perhaps we should cover a little color theory.

This is a color wheel:

Color Wheel

It shows all the colors- Primary: Red, Yellow and Blue. Secondary: Green, Violet and Orange. Tertiary: Blue-Violet, Violet-Red, Blue-Green, Yellow-Green, Orange-Yellow, Red-Orange.

How can looking a color wheel help with adding color to your garden? Consider the wheel when looking for pairings. There are a few tried and true schemes that always look great.

  • Monochromatic is when you choose all one color. For example, planting several different plants in one color- like green.
  • You can also go with one color family, like cool (Green, Blue, Violet) or warm(Yellow, Red, Orange).
  • You can pair one color with a neutral like yellow with white.

Or you can use a complementary scheme.

complementary-wheel

These are colors that are opposite on the wheel. They make each other look brighter and bolder when paired together.

So I considered these principles when I planted my pots on my special day!

Here are the final products:

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This pairs green and white with bright pink. White is a neutral that makes the pink and green pop. Pink is a tint of Red (Red mixed with White) and Red is a complement of Green. The dwarf juniper has a silvery color to it that pairs beautifully with this scheme and it works great in containers. I picked out some begonias, snapdragons and dahlias to complement it because they are my favorites.

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Here I planted a different dwarf juniper (‘Gold Cone’) with a yellow color on the leaves.  I added all red, orange and yellow color spots to create a pot that looked like it was on fire. There are more snapdragons, begonias and dahlias as well as a carnation. I can’t wait to see how this looks at the end of the summer.

Did anyone else get to spend some quality time in their garden this last weekend? How are you incorporating color into your outdoor spaces?

Spring DIY- Easter Centerpiece

Each year we host an Easter get together for our families, and each year I try to think of new and interesting ways to decorate my table. This year I decided to try a little DIY centerpiece and let that be the focal point of the entire table.

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Here’s how it all came together:

First, I started with a basket that I had laying around from a left over Christmas care package.

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I pulled out my trusty craft paints.

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And I started painting, working my way from the bottom up. I chose a mix of pastels, because it felt very festive.

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Then I took it outside, added some soil and potted up the plants. First the conifers, then filling in with flowers.

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I used the following plants:

Cham pisifera `Plumosa Compressa Aurea’– a good little color spot to offset the flowers.

Cham thyoides `Little Jamie’– I loved the blue-green leaves that worked in with the colors of my basket.

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I also used a variegated pansy and an impatient, but you can use whatever you like, or has great colors for your basket! Of course, I also tucked in a cute little bunny figure I already had in my holiday décor, but he came from Cost Plus World Market if you’re looking for a source. I also added a plastic egg, because we do an egg hunt for the kiddos.

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This was a really quick little project and already looks great on my dining room table. I plan to move it outside after the holiday, but for now it sits here.

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I think I’m most excited to see how this transitions from ‘one-time use’ to something fun for the patio this summer. What are some other ways of incorporating dwarf and miniature conifers into centerpieces?

Saint Patrick’s Day Fairy Gardens

It is nearly time to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day! Whether you’re a lover of the color green or the Green Isle itself, there is a little something for everyone to enjoy. Most of all, it is a great time to plant and enjoy a Fairy Garden!

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I pulled together a little history for you:

The Leprechaun – The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.”

Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

Long since medieval times, mystical fairies have flitted across gardens worldwide. Fairies are magical miniature creatures of good will that bring luck, prosperity, and good health to the chosen few whose garden they inhabit.

Fairy gardeners can surely expect to awaken to mysterious disarray in their gardens after a night of mischievous fairy dancing. Fairies are also symbols of good luck and prosperity. Fairies are often said to dwell in fragrant herb gardens to ensure that herbs will flourish and protect humans from illness, danger and stress. Herb gardens were essential in ancient times as they were sources of medicine and culinary delights.

What a great inspiration to get started on a Fairy Garden celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day! Here are two appropriately named miniature hinoki to get your creative juices flowing:

Cham obtusa ‘Leprechaun’

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photo: American Conifer Society

Cham obtuse ‘Stoneham’

Cham Obtusa Stoneham

Consider adding some gold dust or glitter to make it extra special and leave something for all the leprechauns to play around in!

Before I sign off, I wanted to point out the cover of March 2014 Better Homes and Gardens, featuring ‘Wilma Goldcrest’. This dwarf cypress is bright yellow with a green tint and perfect for topiaries and patio containers. No wonder they used it on their cover, it is gorgeous!

BHG March 2014 Page 68

Cupressus macr Wilma Goldcrest

Have a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrating with Dwarf and Miniature Conifers

We’ve been cooped up in the house for the last few weeks due to some uncharacteristically cold weather. Now that the snow has melted, I can truly enjoy one of my favorite holidays- Valentine’s Day.

Here are some appropriately named dwarf and miniature conifers in celebration of Valentine’s Day:

Here’s hoping that everyone has a special someone today.

Abies lasiocarpa `Alpine Beauty’

Alpine Beauty

Some of you might be gifting things like this:

Abies concolor `Blue Sapphir’

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Cupressus macr. `Fine Gold’

Cupressus MACR Fine Gold

Cham lawsoniana `Treasure’

Treasure

You might be dining at some fine establishments and enjoying some sweet treats.

Cedrus deodara `Creampuff’

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Cham obtusa `Cream Tart’

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I’ll be celebrating with my little girl. Her first Valentine’s Day!

Larix kaempferi `Bambino’

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Above all, hopefully no one has “The Blues”!

Picea pungens `The Blues’

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Since we are having more and more cold weather across the country, see here for my cold weather tips for dwarf and miniature conifers.

I hope everyone is enjoying Valentine’s Day!