2016 Collectors' Conifer of the Year Announced

For the 11th year of the CCOY program, we are offering members two special conifer selections, along with a unique selection of a species which has traditionally been aligned with conifers. This represents an awesome opportunity for entertainment and display in the garden. The first one is a dwarf, squat spruce which produces small cones which emerge red from the end of blue branches. The second is a compact, upright, bright yellow arborvitae with a charming color change for the winter. The third is a slow-growing, variegated Ginkgo which begins growth with a light creamy yellow coloration, later evolving into a much more defined pattern of white and green. All proceeds from the sale of these plants benefit the Society's scholarship funds.

Picea pungens ‘Ruby Teardrops’ This striking blue selection of Colorado spruce is a dwarf, growing 2 to 4 inches a year. ‘Ruby Teardrops’ provides a vibrant color display early in the growing season. The abundant emerging cones are red to magenta, and this color contrast against blue foliage generally lasts for at least four weeks, longer in cooler weather. As cones age, they take on a khaki color and will eventually deteriorate rather than dislodge. The overall growth structure is squatty irregular to globose. In 10 years, it may reach 3' tall and wide.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Jantar’ This selection comes out of Poland from Jacub Jablonsky. ‘Jantar’ has the same attributes as the popular 'Emerald Green', except its foliage is an invigorating, cheerful yellow, and the new growth has pointier tips, especially at the top of the plant. Compared to other yellow selections of arborvitae, it has many more lateral branches which result in a much denser look. When cold weather approaches, a color change begins which results in a mellow orange-ish yellow for winter. This conifer is well suited for making a colorful focal point or statement in a garden without taking up much space.

Gingko biloba ‘Snow Cloud’ — a new introduction with stunning variegated foliage, which does not appear to be subject to reversion. Its growth consistently emerges colored a soft cream which develops yellow tones and then matures to a more defined green with varying white blotches and streaks. However, some leaves may never green out, but remain cream colored. Although Ginkgo are tough by nature, siting of this plant is critical. Too much intense sun can burn variegated parts, and too deep shade can significantly green out the specimen, reducing its effect of significantly brightening a garden spot. In the autumn, the plant will glow as the leaves turn bright yellow before dropping. Since it is such a new introduction, its ultimate size is not certain. However, its lack of chlorophyll due to its degree of variegation is expected to restrain its growth. It probably will assume a more shrub-like form of less than 10 feet high in 10 years.

Ordering: The Collectors’ Conifer of the Year program is restricted to members of the American Conifer Society. Purchases are limited to one of each selection per member. The cost is $85.00 for ‘Ruby Teardrops‘, $65.00 for ‘Jantar’ and $80.00 for ‘Snow Cloud‘. Each offering comes with a conditional one year/one time replacement guarantee. Accompanying each plant will be an anodized aluminum tag with its holder which identifies the plant as a winner of the American Conifer Society’s annual award of “Collectors Conifer of the Year”. Shipping is included in the above costs. For ordering, please complete the form in this publication. Orders will be filled by date of receipt until the inventory sells out. All orders must be received by February 1, 2016. We cannot ship outside the United States. Happy conifering to all of you!

Excerpted from the full article in the Fall 2015 ConiferQuarterly by Dennis Lee