The other morning we awoke to our first sprinkling of the white stuff. Far to early for our normal predictions and only lasted a few hours, but how quickly it can change the garden scene and the gardener’s attitude.
Is this a Dwarf Mugo Pine ( Pinus mugo pumilio ) in flower? No, of course it isn’t but it looks like it. This shrub is used a lot in my yard as it is extremely drought and deer resistant. When you choose dwarf pines be very careful to buy from a reputable nursery who knows their plant material. Far too often pines are miss labelled and are sold as dwarf varieties when in fact they are not. You can end up with a real disappointment if your dwarf pine grows to 10 feet high by 10 feet wide. Pruning a regular growth pine to keep it dwarf sized is not only work intensive but ineffective. A true dwarf mugo should not exceed 3 feet by 3 feet dimensions at maturity.
Doublefile Viburnun ( Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’ ) is by far one of my favorite shrubs. There are several Viburnum cultivars that are great garden shrubs but the lateral growth on this one is spectacular. The tiered horizontal branches display large white clusters of flowers in late spring turning to red fruit in the fall with bright red-maroon leaves. Do not prune this one, let its natural growth prevail. It may take a few years of growth for this horizontal growth tendency to be realized.
Another great evergreen for my water starved and deer infested garden is Juniper “Mint Julep’ ( Juniperus ‘Monlep’ ). A relatively compact growth habit with striking mint green foliage. What I like about this juniper is the fountain-like form, and it is also a fast grower. In all the years of growing junipers, I have never seen this one not looking great.
Another reliable evergreen is Dwarf Balsam Fir ( Abies balsamea ‘Nana’ ). Very slow growing it reaches only 12 inches high by 18 inches wide. These evergreen shrubs are extremely hardy and useful for rock gardens. Not as drought tolerant as the pines but still very tuff and deer resistant.
I have to admit that fresh fallen snow on a sunny morning is a beautiful sight, but…. later, much later please! This gardener still has fall chores to complete and tools to clean and put away.