This is so far our favorite Engelmann spruce broom cultivar! It is so thick, dense, hardy, and BLUE! And such a striking form! It was harvested the day Mike fell off the ladder and broke his ankle and his foot! Several other specimens derived their names from that fateful day! Including Picea engelmannii ’Big Sky’, Picea pungens ‘Skyfall’, and Pseudotsuga menziesii ‘Knock Out’!
About Abies amabilis ‘Sway’: This was the very first Abies amabilis broom we discovered. The tree and broom are truly lovely, aptly named “amabilis”. While walking along the Pacific Crest Trail, the broom silhouette was spotted in the skyline. We have been watching this broom for a number of years and finally had an opportunity to harvest a few scions during our mild November in 2021. Our new grafts are showing some activity in April 2022. Looking good so far! Hopefully success since the broom is so challenging to access during grafting season!
About Tsuga heterophylla ‘Goldleaf’: We discovered this vibrant Western Hemlock sport up by White Pass atop a bluff, making it a challenge to access, and even dangerous once the snow begins. After several years of observation, there was a melt in early November 2021 between snow falls, finally providing an opportunity to access it for harvest!
This beautiful Western hemlock golden sport appears to be dependent on sunlight to bring out it’s color. It was fully exposed to the sun, facing south, without obvious needle burn. In contrast, another of our variegated Tsuga discoveries, ‘Cascade Confetti’ is not sun dependent for it’s golden color. It will be interesting to see how they compare as they get older.
This Western hemlock golden sport had numerous cones and there were still some seeds remaining in the opened cones when we harvested the sport! We refrigerated them and the seeds are beginning to germinate. Some of the seedlings appear yellow! Updates to follow!
Mike & Paulie Seidel from Crowfoot Nursery kindly grafted and rooted some of the scions. Looking forward to see their progress in the spring!
After at least 7 years of watching the beautiful parent Engelman, pushing bright white new growth each spring, and late fall grafts that failed, we finally figured out a solution! We obtained scions the day before the first big snow fall in late November and refrigerated the scions until late January! So excited to finally see a close up view of the beautiful spring push! 2023!
About Picea engelmannii ‘Whitewater’: This majestic engelmann spruce was discovered towering over a riverbank, and remarkably, it is splashed with creamy white variegated branches. The coloration is intense with spring push and the color fades slightly but not completely throughout the summer. By the following spring, last year’s growth has changed to green, just in time to provide contrast for the beautiful new flush of color!
This mature spruce tree, Picea engelmannii, towers above the lower tree canopy, making it challenging to photograph close ups and to retrieve cuttings! The tree was discovered about 7 years ago.
Finally in November 2020, we were able to retrieve some scions of ‘Whitewater’ during the beginning of the first major mountain snowstorm of the winter season. If we were unsuccessful on harvest day, this beautiful colorful spruce cultivar would have to wait yet another year or more!…..(and it did!)
We were very hopeful that our grafts would take, since this was not the optimal time to harvest or graft Picea cultivars! (which they didn’t!)
About Picea abies ‘Franklin Park’: This new miniature Norway spruce cultivar was found growing as a mutation on a full-size tree in Yakima.
The blue-green needles and upright habit make ‘Franklin Park’ perfect for a small display garden or rock garden.
The Norway spruce tree with the broom mutation was spotted growing in a neighbor’s yard bordering Franklin Park. The neighbor fortunately also had an interest in conifer cultivars and graciously allowed us to harvest a sample of the broom to graft.
This Norway spruce cultivar, ‘Franklin Park’, is miniature and grows 1 to 3 inches per year.
Picea abies ‘Franklin Park is very rare. Only a handful of this cute little Norway spruce cultivar exists. This specimen is about 5 years old.
About Picea engelmannii ‘Mountain Gold’: The Engelmann spruce parent tree was discovered while hiking on a trail in the Cascade Mountains of eastern Washington.
We couldn’t believe it! We turned a corner and there it was! A beautiful 20 foot tall variegated Engelmann spruce tree standing on its own just off of the hiking trail!
It grafted quite well and actually prefers the sun! Our grafts started growing much better after we moved them from the shade to the sun. There is very little burning of the golden needles. The yellow color intensifies in the sun and becomes quite prominent by June.
About Pinus parviflora ‘Netsuke’: This Japanese White Pine cultivar is a tiny specimen grown from a seed produced by ‘Kinpo’.
This tiny 6 year old Japanese white pine tree, ‘Netsuke’, is a new cultivar of Pinus parviflora that originated from a ‘Kinpo’ seed. Unlike its popular parent, ‘Netsuke’ is a tiny globose bun with less than 1 inch annual growth. ‘Netsuke’ needles are 1/2 to 1 inch in length and have beautiful hues of blue and white. ‘Netsuke’ is a befitting name for this cute little cultivar since it gives homage to the spirit of the craft.
‘Netsuke’ is our second Pinus parviflora cultivar. Our first Japanese White Pine cultivar was a witches broom found at the Yakima Arboretum, which we named ‘Ooh La La’!
About Pinus banksiana ‘Ray’s Random Point’: This interesting cultivar has a random growth habit, discovered as a broom on a Jack pine growing on our neighbor’s property in upper Michigan.
Our Michigan neighbors, Tom & Brenda Ray, owned a lovely property, with an irregular waterfront, with beautiful sandy coves, and granite outcroppings jutting out into the bay. Thus they named their property “Ray’s Random Point”.
Tom and Brenda lived a long happy life together until the very end when they passed away within 3 days of each other, in early February 2018, both in their mid 80’s. It just so happens that there was a Jack pine on Ray’s Random Point which produced an interesting irregularly growing broom to match their wonderful property! What a perfect name for the new cultivar Pinus banksiana ‘Ray’s Random Point’! We had collected scions from ‘Ray’s Random Point’ that year and we were actually grafting these when we heard of their passing!
About Tsuga heterophylla ‘Cascade Confetti’: This colorful Western Hemlock sport was discovered in the late fall 2020, while searching for Abies mutations in a new area that was still accessible since our favorite areas for exploration were already snowed in.
The sport was easy to reach with our pole pruner, and we removed only a portion of it, leaving enough behind to try again later if need be.
We were pleased to see the variegated sport close-up. The sport looks quite healthy, with a growth pattern similar to the tree.
We also sent some of the scion wood to our friends for rooting and grafting. Our grafts are still looking good after 3 months in the greenhouse…will see if they push!
About Picea engelmannii ‘Big Sky’: This Engelmann spruce broom was one of 7 specimens discovered and collected in Montana. We found the brooms on a road trip in October 2014 to attend a friend’s wedding. No great vacation is complete without finding at least one broom!
Mike returned in February 2015 to harvest scions.
See all the cute little cones that had fallen from the Engelmann spruce tree on to the ground!
The long trip was worth it! 8 years later, Picea engelmannii ‘Big Sky’ is a beautiful little globose cultivar with a nice growth pattern and colorful blue needles!
Hopefully the new cultivar “Big Sky’ some day will also produce cones like it’s parent!