Abies grandis ‘Grand Prize’ is a new cultivar from a golden variegated Pacific grand fir that was discovered while hiking in the eastern Cascade mountain range of Washington state. The golden variegation was present throughout the tree and the new grafts are pushing with yellow variegated foliage that persists throughout the year! It was found by the Davisons on the same day as a fully golden variegated Pinus monticola, ‘Monti’s Gold‘. It was accessed during the winter via snowmobile and the entire tree, which was at least 10 feet tall, was buried under snow. Mike was able to figure out the location based on the surrounding landmarks and dug out a few branches to gather cuttings, and nearly all of the grafted scions pushed.
Abies amabilis ‘Pulsar’, is a new cultivar from a Pacific silver fir broom that was discovered in the eastern Cascade mountain range of Washington at an elevation of almost exactly 1 mile (5276 feet per our Altitude app!). It is an extremely dense and old appearing broom. So we decided to name it ‘Pulsar’. We harvested a few scions in the fall of 2018 and they pushed nicely, and developed multiple new buds! We gathered more scions in November 2019, to share with other enthusiasts! While harvesting this “Star” broom, we also found a tight little broom that we named Abies amabilis ‘Stellar’! At present, there are only 1 or 2 Abies amabilis cultivars commercially available, which includes the beautiful and sought after ‘Spreading Star’ which originated as a seedling in the Netherlands before 1960.
About Abies procera ‘Skunk Tail’, a Noble fir. We were walking along an old logging road at dusk, on our way back to the car, and there was an opening along the trees along the side of the road. Dusk is the best time to spot variegated trees…there it was! So beautiful from afar! Mike looked through the binoculars and exclaimed “It’s striped! Looks like a skunk tail!” We scurried down the hill to get a closer look! Sure enough, beautiful variegation, and with cones, some variegated!
This nice Abies fir broom cultivar, ‘Topper’, was labeled “PNW” (Pacific NorthWest) because the tree was nearly dead with missing needles and dead branches, making it difficult to identify. The broom was the only viable looking part of the tree when we discovered and harvested this fir broom. We thought it may be an Abies amabilis broom since there were many amabilis growing in the area. But since we could not conclusively confirm the identity, we labelled it “PNW”, along with another Abies fir cultivar ‘Pacific Pearls’, with similar circumstances. The ‘Topper’ broom had a beautiful miniature tree configuration, situated on the top of the tree, like a Christmas tree ornament. Only a few grafts survived, probably because the broom itself was also in the process of dying. When we returned the following spring, there was not a needle remaining on the tree!
This nice Abies “PNW” (Pacific Northwest) fir broom cultivar, ‘Pacific Pearls’, was one of our first discoveries of Abies in the Cascade Mountain Range of the Pacific Northwest. The ‘Pacific Pearls’ fir cultivar appears to be from an Abies amabilis broom, but the parent tree died before we could confirm the identity of the species. Some experts question whether it could be a lasiocarpa or a cross between 2 fir species because of the unusual needles, buds, and growth pattern. Therefore, we thought it would be most appropriate to label it as a Pacific NorthWest (“PNW“) fir cultivar until otherwise identified.
About Abies lasiocarpa ‘Christmas 2018’! We found a perfect Christmas tree for the 2018 holiday season, a very tall and narrow subalpine fir (about 20 feet tall by 5 feet wide at its base) with a beautiful blue-green coloration and large thick needles! It was at an elevation of about 4700 ft, among a mix of healthy younger firs, also including amabilis and procera. In fact, we found a colorful variegated Noble fir, Abies procera ‘Skunk Tail’, a couple years prior, in the same area. We were so excited about the structure and color of our new Christmas tree, that we decided to do an experiment, to graft it! We came up with the idea to graft it as we were decorating it, about 3 weeks after it was harvested, and the scions took! So hopefully, many years from now, we will have another “perfect Christmas tree” if the new cultivar stays true to form. This may become a new holiday tradition for us!
This balsam fir broom, Abies balsamea ‘Puppini’ was discovered in a remote area of the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan in November 2015. It was a beautiful quiet snowy day on January 11, 2016 when we went to retrieve it, and out of nowhere, there appeared a team of husky dogs pulling a 4 wheeler “sleigh”! We were planning to name the cultivar ‘Husky Pup’ but Nickolas Sizoo of Bothwell, Washington beat us to it, naming his unique white fir seedling, Abies concolor ‘Husky Pup’. That cultivar was registered and introduced in 1965 by the University of Washington, where Husky is the school mascot. Abies balsamea ‘Puppini’ is a cute little Balsam fir specimen, petite and healthy, growing 1 inch or less per year! It is doing well in our conifer garden in upper Michigan, and also in the high desert of Eastern Washington.
About Abies grandis ‘Grand Poohbah’! We had been observing this Grand fir broom for a few years, trying to figure out how to retrieve some scions! This one was out of our league for climbing but we found a brave and eager tree climber who scurried up the tree without a problem! It was a beautiful day up in the mountains of the Cascade Mountain range of the Pacific Northwest with gentle snowflakes making it that much more beautiful! When we finally retrieved the broom, Mike decided to name it ‘Grand Poobah’ because it was perched near the top of the tree with the appearance of Fred Flintstone’s lodge hat from the Loyal Order of the Water Buffaloes. This Abies grandis broom, along with the majority of the Davison Pacific Northwest discoveries, was from the higher elevations of the east side of the Cascade Mountains, where the conditions are more harsh. It seems that because of this, our specimens appear to be more adaptable to a wider range of temperatures and weather conditions. Abies grandis ‘Grand Poobah’ and many others of the Davison Pacific Northwest cultivars are thriving also in the Upper Michigan region, notable for their harsh winters. Similar to Abies grandis ‘Serendipity’, ‘Grand Poobah’ grafts well and produces numerous buds on light exposed surfaces.
Abies grandis ‘Serendipity’ was one of the first Grand fir brooms that Mike & Cheryl discovered. We had traveled the side road many times previously but it only became visible in early December 2014 because of a recent snowfall which highlighted the broom’s outline. Mike climbed the tree and took a few scions, and nearly all of them had nice new growth the following spring…Serendipitously, we returned the following year, on Valentine’s Day 2016 to harvest more scions, only to find that the branch that supported the broom had partially snapped from the snow load that winter! The broom was still there! So we retrieved what we could from this large broom (about 6 by 6 ft and 2 ft ht), hoping that it was still viable, and the grafts produced this beautiful and vigorous new grand fir cultivar! The parent tree of this cultivar ‘Serendipity’ is on the east side of the Cascade Mountain range over 2000 feet elevation, and it appears to be more cold hardy and versatile. These grafted fir trees are thriving in our conifer garden in Upper Michigan along the shore of Lake Superior. ‘Serendipity’ appears adaptable to various climates, also thriving in the high mountain desert of Washington, with low humidity and occasional summer temperatures approaching 110 degrees. The Abies grandis ‘Serendipity’ new cultivar is on display at the Oregon Garden arboretum!
This was a nice looking Abies balsamea broom that was discovered in Upper Michigan in January 2017 shortly before finding another cool balsam broom, ‘Orlok’! Mike was on a venture to retrieve a Picea glauca broom late in the day, one that we had found several months prior. To his dismay, the trees in that area had been cut down in the interim. But he was delighted when he turned back to leave and discovered ‘Creme de Menthe’ and then shortly afterward, at sunset, ‘Orlok’! The Abies balsamea ‘Creme de Menthe’ and its grafts have a pleasing minty green coloration, and thus it’s name!