22 November 2009

Dwarf conifers come from witches!

My recent trip to Hidden Lake Gardens enjoying their glorious collection of dwarf conifers

Made me remember seeing this in a graveyard I bicycle past on my way to work every day:

And what is that? Something perched in the middle of that pine tree... Zoom in a little closer and:

It looks like a little dwarf conifer stuck in the middle of a regular pine tree. Which is exactly what it is -- it is called a witches' broom (I'm serious, that's what they're called -- though not to be confused with the disease of hackberries that goes about calling itself witches' broom too) Every once in a great while, a random mutation in a pine tree causes one branch to start growing all short and squat -- they grow there, a little dwarf conifer stuck in the middle of a full-sized tree, until some enterprising horticulturalist comes by, cuts some of the dwarf branches off, graft them onto a regular root stock, gives is a cutesy cultivar name, and markets it as a new dwarf conifer.

Which is exactly what I'd like to do with this one, only it is some 20 feet up in the air, in the middle of a graveyard... Not sure exactly how to get up to it...

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