Bill Hoffman of Brantwood is a collector of conifers with more than 200 taxa (genus, species, and cultivars) under his care. But his real passion is dwarf conifers. Dwarf conifers are trees that do not reach the normal size as typical for their species. He recently was thrilled to have one of his dwarf conifers, Pinus strobus (white pine) Brantwood, released for sale by ConiferKingdom.com.
Here is Bill’s interesting story in his own words of how he found and got his new dwarf white pine cultivar developed for others to enjoy:
“While I was brush-mowing my forest trails one late summer a few years ago I noticed a witch’s broom on a huge old white pine tree beside the trail. What was so surprising was that it was reachable! Witch’s brooms are rare in my neck of the woods, so I was thrilled to discover this one. I contacted Sam at Conifer Kingdom to see if he would be willing to propagate it. I was once again thrilled when he said he would. He suggested that I send some cuttings during the next propagating season in January and inform him of a name for the potential new cultivar. There were no guarantees. In January I drove my snowmobile out in the deep snow to the pine tree. Standing on the snowmobile I was able to reach up and cut down the broom. Back at the house I cut off all the new growth and quickly shipped them off to Sam in Oregon for grafting. The rest is history! Seeing Pinus strobus Brantwood on Conifer Kingdom’s website https://www.coniferkingdom.com/pinus-strobus-brantwoodspaneastern-white-pinespan/ a few years later was yet another thrill...”
I hope Bill’s story has gotten you as thrilled as he is about dwarf conifers. If so, check out these resources on how you can use them to beautify your garden landscape.
Take an inspiring walk in the Chicago Botanical Garden’s Dwarf Conifer Garden at this website: https://www.chicagobotanic.org/walk/dwarfconiferwalk
If that virtual walk got you excited about adding dwarf conifers to your garden landscape, click on this weblink for more information:
https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/dwarf_conifers and download this helpful guide for developing a dwarf conifer garden of your own
For more ideas in how dwarf conifers can be used in a garden landscape, look at this short YouTube video featuring Burkland nursery manager Gil McNeal who shares information on several mature dwarf conifers as he describes their characteristics: https://youtu.be/OORkccyT-JI
And if you want to find out even more about conifers, check out the coolest plant society on earth with the most comprehensive conifer database on the internet at conifersociety.org.
After looking over these dwarf conifer resources, it’s easy to see why conifers are a staple of most backyard landscapes. They provide reliable shelter for birds, offer nice color and year-round structure in the garden and are mostly maintenance-free. Now you can have those same virtues in a smaller package, thanks to newer downsized varieties referred to as dwarf conifers. Maybe you will want to consider adding Bill’s newly released Wisconsin dwarf Pinus strobus Brantwood to provide something unique and interesting to your garden.
The private Nature Education Center in Fifield operated by Tom and Mary Lou Nicholls is open seasonally by appointment only. Nicholls can be reached at email@example.com.