Category Archives: How To

Instructions and Tips for how to create, design and grow dwarf and miniature 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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

Tutorial- Holiday Trimmings for your Miniature and Dwarf Conifer Gardens

There is no way to escape it- the holiday season is upon us.  It seems like everywhere you turn these days there are santas, ornaments and holiday trimmings as far as the eye can see.  I’m always looking for a cute craft to help me embrace the season before the carols overtake the radio and the mood turns from delightful to slightly frenzied.

When I was browsing Pinterest the other day, I found this adorable little craft that I thought would be great for my small patio container. I like to move my patio container from my back porch onto my front porch as soon as I put my wreath up in December. It is fun to find new ways to incorporate my miniature and dwarf conifers into my decorations each year.  I try to put extra effort into my front porch and I always get complements on my decorations.  Last year my Father-in-law found some adorable little holiday critters to adorn my container. This year, I thought I would surprise him with some of these little beauties!

For the tutorial on how to make the reindeer, I followed this blog. Here is the pin where I found it.  Finally, here is how my little reindeer project turned out. It was very easy and it only took me about 10 minutes to make both Reindeer.  Wouldn’t it be so fun to have these guys around a mini railroad set at the holidays? These mini conifers make this adorable.

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For fun, here is a photo of the container from last year.  The mini snowmen and nutcrackers came from Walgreens, of all places. They have a great selection at really reasonable prices.

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For anyone who is interested, here is a list of the plants in my container. Clockwise from top left:

Cryptomeria japonica`Tansu`
Juniperus communis `Compressa`,
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana `Treasure Island`,
Cryptomeria japonica `Tenzan`,
Juniperus horaizontalis `Blue Pygmy`

How are you getting ready for the holidays? Are you using dwarf and miniature conifers in your preparations?

Tutorial: Updated Container Gardening

While browsing my latest edition of Better Homes and Gardens, I came upon an article on “What’s Hot” in Container Gardening. Right now, monochromatic plant combinations are in! Blend foliage in similar hues but mix in shapes, sizes and textures for interest.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, fall and winter can be drab times. Take hold of the last bit of nice weather and use this as the perfect way to update your containers for the season. All you need are some cute little dwarf and miniature conifers in rich hues to keep things cheery and fresh throughout the coming season.

When you are searching for the perfect plants for your update, consider these helpful tips:

Add texture.  Abies koreana `Blauer Eskimo’ is a miniature, blue, globe form of Korean Fir. The spiny texture adds dimension to your garden.  Very hardy, and growing just one inch a year makes it a perfect plant for rock gardens or troughs.

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Do more with a column or spire.  Height adds drama and makes any freshly planted container look more complete. A great choice is Juniperus communis `Compressa’.  This is the best columnar plant for trough or rock gardens. It has silvery-blue foliage on a tight, columnar arrow.

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Variegated colors. Staying in the same color family, but adding a little variation will complete the look.  Each of these plants has a silver-blue hue to them. Picea glauca `Blue Planet’ is a miniature Alberta Spruce. It might be just a tight little compact ball, but its showstopper leaves have tiny little buds and steel-blue foliage. This plant is a miniature and in three years it will only be the size of a quarter.

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Each example above has a blue hue to it. There are many color choices for dwarf and miniature conifers, head to your local garden center for more information.

One last handy tip: plant in odd numbers for the most visually appealing arrangement. Groups of 3, 5 or 7 will be the most pleasing!  Try 2 textures, 2 variegated colors and a spire for a well-rounded container.

Keep posted here for more tips on how to transition these containers through the holiday season and into spring.