Frosty

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

While Mugo pine is not na­tive to the Prairies (rather, cen­tral Europe), it is hardy to Zone 2 as is Re­dosier dog­wood. As a gen­eral rule, when Pen­ner is de­sign­ing a land­scape, he tries to en­sure that ev­er­greens make up 25 per cent of plants se­lected for the land­scape so there is some­thing to look at dur­ing the win­ter. A favourite ev­er­green is Swiss Stone pine. With long, lux­u­ri­antly soft, blue-green nee­dles, this very slow-grow­ing pyra­mi­dal ev­er­green is ex­cep­tion­ally re­sis­tant to win­ter burn. Pen­ner says the use of ev­er­greens and conifers in the land­scape adds to the way we per­ceive win­ter. Gar­den­ing should re­lieve rather than cause stress, so it is im­por­tant to ex­e­cute the ba­sics of main­te­nance. In or­der to look their best, ev­er­greens re­quire ad­e­quate wa­ter­ing and most would rather not be sit­u­ated in west-fac­ing cor­ners where they take the brunt of the el­e­ments. Pen­ner also rec­om­mends Iseli Fasti­giate spruce, a lesser known Picea pun­gens va­ri­ety with bright blue nee­dles. He de­scribes it as a more colum­nar, nar­row ver­sion of the Colorado Blue spruce. Slow grow­ing, it is only three me­tres wide at ma­tu­rity. In­trigued, I con­tacted Fred Driedger, owner of Ever­green Val­ley Nurs­ery in Bran­don. Driedger likens the teardrop shape of Iseli Fasti­giate to a light­en­ing rod with its very sharp, pointy top. The nee­dles are not as thick or dense as those of a Colorado Spruce, and are some­what softer. Driedger has seen this va­ri­ety grow­ing in Bran­don and down­town Dauphin. Devel­oped in Ore­gon where tem­per­a­ture ex­tremes are rare, Driedger sug­gests in­quir­ing at your lo­cal nurs­ery as to where it was grown. If it was grown on the West Coast and has not been ac­cli­ma­tized to a min­i­mum of two Man­i­toba win­ters, there could be the risk of win­ter dam­age es­pe­cially if it is grown in a wide open lo­ca­tion. “Noth­ing pre­pares a plant for our cli­mate like be­ing first ac­cli­ma­tized,” says Driedger. Driedger also sug­gests an­other Picea pun­gens va­ri­ety, Mont­gomery spruce. Alas, it is not easy to find at lo­cal gar­den cen­tres, but don’t let that pre­vent you from ask­ing for it! More widely avail­able is Globe Blue Colorado spruce but you shouldn’t be mis­led, says Driedger, by the ma­ture size quoted in most plant cat­a­logues which de­scribe the plant as grow­ing to only 1.25

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