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Cuddly Conifers

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This is a short article I wrote for the British Conifer Society Journal, and appears in Spring 2010, No. 14. So no copyright issues I’m glad to say. Might be a bit boring for some, but there you go. Was at a bit of a loose end this afternoon, so thought I would throw it into the mix so to speak! Lol :o)
So, what are ‘cuddly conifers’ ? By my definition, it has to be those conifers that you approach and have the urge to feel the very soft texture of their foliage – in other words, they are conifers that are very touchable, or even ‘hug-able’. I have chosen three from my garden that i believe fit the definition very well.
Thuja occidentalis ‘Teddy’
If ever a conifer had an appropriately descriptive name, this is it! It forms an oval to round ball of soft, feathery, juvenile foliage, that is blue-green in summer before producing purplish-bronze tones during the winter months. In my experience, it is not always easy to grow well, but at its best it can seem almost unnaturally regular. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to convince visitors that our plant is natural and has received no assistance from me to maintain its perfect manicured look. It will reach about 90cms x 30cms after 10 years.


Thuja occidentalis ‘Teddy’
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Mushroom’
Another very descriptive name for a plant that is a soft green colour in spring and summer. The short, finely textured, almost wiry looking foliage of this mounding, mop-like Japanese Cedar turns a dramatic russet colour in winter. The colder the weather, the more intense the colour becomes. This is another plant that requires little or no pruning to maintain its natural shape. Expect approximately 100×60cms after 10 years.


Cryptomeria japonica ‘Mushroom’

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Nymph’
In my opinion, this is one of the very best of the dwarf ‘Elwoodii’ varieties of Lawson’s Cypress. It displays blue-grey juvenile leaves in summer, turning a more grey-green in winter, on a very dwarf bushy globe. Specimens can produce the occasional small reversion, which should be removed as soon as it appears in order to maintain the neat appearance of the plant.
It is also known under the name ’Ellwood’s Nymph’, and is still sold under its original name of ‘MacPennys Gnome’ by Macpennys Nurseries, of Bransgore, in Dorset, who originally introduced the plant into cultivation. The name change was considered necessary however, to avoid any confusion with another conifer in the genus named Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Gnome’, which is an entirely different plant. ‘Nymph’ will grow to around 50×40cms after 10 years.


Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Nymph’

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Comments

 

lovely plants, i was wondering if you could train 'teddy' into a christmas tree??? it seems to have all the right qualities ~ except for its shape!??

12 Jan, 2011

 

Not a chance! Stickitoffee, and why would you want to ? lol :o)

12 Jan, 2011

 

Useful informative blog...
Is this going to be the first of a series ;o) ?

12 Jan, 2011

 

Doubt it Terratoonie, was just at a loose end this afternoon with an hour or so to spare.. :o)

12 Jan, 2011

 

Enjoyed this Blue...love the Teddy especially....and they make for interesting winter colour too. I wish I had more room in my garden....it's lovely to see these sited amongst your other dwarf conifers and grasses...each one special...:o) When I re-do my garden in the spring, I can't decide whether to use a bark mulch like yours or pebbles....???

12 Jan, 2011

 

I'm a fan of these neat symmetrical dwarf conifers and had quite a few in my previous garden which was a lot bigger. I especially like that 'Nymph' of yours. I've got a 10 year old Cham. 'Golden Pot' which keeps a lovely shape just like it's name but not sure how big it will get, any idea Steve?
By the way, the 'Villosum' have made no progress but are still alive ......I think!

12 Jan, 2011

 

They are all wonderful, and sound great for small areas. Have nominated this for your own Goypedia page, lol!!

12 Jan, 2011

 

Hi Jane, when you say about the choice between bark mulch and pebbles, are you referring to all of your garden ?
Hi Janet, Your Lawson 'Golden Pot' is a lovely plant, one of the best golds. It's fairly slow growing, and doesn't put on much height in it's early years, sort of stays very dumpy. I would guess it will reach about 5 feet high by about 3 feet wide in 10 years. Ultimate height could be in the region of 20 feet...might take a while though!
Don't worry about the 'Villosum' yet, it's too early, wont start doing anything till late winter early spring. If it doesn't make it let me know, I'll send you another earlier in the year.(growing season)
Cheers David, I'll give it serious consideration lol!

13 Jan, 2011

 

Sounds like it'll be someone else's problem by the time the 'Golden Pot' gets very large then Steve, although it may start encroaching on the drive widthways before then. If I do need to trim it back, is it best to do same all way round?
I hope the 'Villosum' will be OK so I won't need to bother you again but many thanks for that. :o)

13 Jan, 2011

 

You can always give it a light trim over around mid April Janet, before new growth begins. That way you don't spoil the natural shape of the plant. If you want the plant to get a bit taller, then just trim the sides.

13 Jan, 2011

 

So much great info, Bs - but, I see. you stll have not added this to the "conifers" page!!! Tssk!!!!!???? :-))

14 Jan, 2011

 

Ok David, done now! lol :o)

14 Jan, 2011

 

So I see! :-D)

Many Thanks, again, for this info.

14 Jan, 2011

 

Blue, my idea of a cuddly evergreen is Pinus Wallichiana....I can't pass it without touching! I bought a tiny one in the autumn and I've no idea what I'll do with it when it gets big...but I might try to Bonsai it...what do you think?

15 Jan, 2011

 

Thanks for the info Steve.......err .....do I need to go to Specsavers or have you turned into a woman????

15 Jan, 2011

 

Well, what do you say to that Blue? Are we seeing the other side of you...Lol! Now back to the mulch or pebbles....its the one side I'm going to change, my main border which is at the foot of a wall and faces south, so in summer is very dry, the mulch looks more plant friendly, but I like the look of golden pebbles.....

15 Jan, 2011

 

Hi Janet...no...still all man!! haha...you can blame Jane!

My preference would be for bark mulch, as you say more plant friendly, plus easier to work with and maintain...never been keen on artificial looking surfaces around plants...apart from normal gravel, don't mind that so much...

16 Jan, 2011

 

Glad to hear it Steve and I'm sure Jane is too! I bet she's got more hair than you though. lol :o))

16 Jan, 2011

 

????? :o))


16 Jan, 2011

 

errr looking at her pic here, I'd say she's got plenty! but you know what they say about bald men! Janet ha! lol x

16 Jan, 2011

 

Jane and Janey! same gorgeous girl! just for clarification ;0)

16 Jan, 2011

 

Now I'm really confused......Jane, Janey? What's your wife's name then? A bit more clarification needed please. By the way, I'm not sure what it is they say about bald men but I can guess!

16 Jan, 2011

 

Yes what are you trying to say Blue....so confusing! Confucius say Man with very wide grin...will soon split face in half....:o)) And just what is it they say about bald men???

16 Jan, 2011

 

Janet...Jane is Janey! here on this thread...the blond one holding the puppy! ...my partner(not wife!) is Lynne, the one as my profile pic again!...mmm, and do the pair of you really need me to explain about men with less than a full head of hair! lol :o)

16 Jan, 2011

 

Man with very wide grin has disappeared altogether.....if you want to explain Blue....we are willing to listen...:o)

16 Jan, 2011

 

Time you were in bed Jane ....x

16 Jan, 2011

 

Nite...nite.......

16 Jan, 2011

 

Nite nite ...........x

16 Jan, 2011

 

mmmm......whatever it is it's bound to be a myth put about by bald men :o)
I think I've got to grips with who's who now Steve, but please don't change your avatar again and blame it on someone who may or may not be your partner or wife or dog or cat or whatever.......LOL

17 Jan, 2011

 

Back to normal now Janet....no myth I can assure you!! lol ;o)))

17 Jan, 2011

 

I'm sure bald men everywhere will back you up Steve but I'll just take your word for it!! :o)))

17 Jan, 2011

 

In my case anyway, Janet ;)))....x

18 Jan, 2011

 

That accounts for that great big smile of yours then! :o)) x

18 Jan, 2011

 

Probably does Janet ;o) xx

I'm ever so sorry karen, what with Jane & Janet distracting me, I totally forgot about your Pinus wallichiana! ..is it the straight species or a cultivar ?...if it is the species then it will obviously get too big in time, so bonsai might be a good alternative. If it is a cultivar like 'Nana' then it might be possible to plant it outside, assuming your garden isn't too small. x

18 Jan, 2011

 

Straight species BS ...I'm glad you replied, I thought you were offended at the idea of bonsai-ing a good conifer! ;))

18 Jan, 2011

 

Then if you do want to keep it Bonsai is a way to go, or you might try planting it out, and clip it back every year to get it bushy, then after a while try shearing it to the size you want..might just work ok..

18 Jan, 2011

 

Oh, ok that's another option then. I might plant it where the Pittosporum is if it's really dead and I have to remove it.

18 Jan, 2011

 

will also require sun & good drainage..

18 Jan, 2011

 

Ah yes, well, that fits the space I have in mind. Thanks.

18 Jan, 2011

 

have bin looking 4 some interesting conifers 4 my banking ............... not much choice here , got a few last year . only want dwafe . and grasses as well ... so likeing ur blog 4 more info , thanks .

5 Feb, 2011

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