The #1 problem with growing conifers in the Michigan landscape is that they get big, too big. After 20 years you find that your yard is devoted to a single norway spruce, and your dysfunctional sentimentality will not allow you to just cut it down and start all over. And furthermore you'll complain to anyone who will listen that the tree was planted too close to the house. But here's a thought: if you have a small lot, there is no one solution that will hold up for all time. As the plants grow, you just have to get in there and make changes, maybe even some radical ones
So, where was I? Oh yeah, conifers. There are many dwarf conifers which grow slowly, or are so confused that they don't know enough to grow up instead of down or sideways. These are well suited for the smaller landscape. A wonderful opportunity to lean about them is coming up on Saturday, Jan 21 when Don Wild of the American Conifer Society will present a talk on "Dwarf Conifers for the Rock Garden" at Matthaei Botanical Gardens on Plymouth Rd in northeast Ann Arbor.
Don't worry about the term 'rock garden.' The term is really shorthand for 'limited space.' Rocks are not required.. The talk is at 1:30 and is sponsored by the Great Lakes Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society, of which I was once chair (the chapter, that is, not the wider national organization). This is also an opportunity to meet with some truly astute, knowledgeable, and ambitious gardeners and plant lovers. I can't recommend the group highly enough.