Re-Bitten by the Dwarf Conifer Bug

echolane(SFBayMidPen)April 6, 2011

I've been collecting and growing dwarf conifers in my small garden for over 25 years. Unfortunately, too many of them have outgrown their allotted spaces and I am on the hunt for new ones. Can't seem to find anything locally; I assume because the nurseries are a bit stressed by the economy and are carrying the more common plants instead.

So does anyone know where I can go in the San Francisco Bay Area to find a good selection of dwarf conifers? Are there good online sources on the west coast selling dwarf conifers?

Are there any wholesalers that will sell direct? I'd love to buy from Iseli, for example.

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For online sources, Firefightergardener has put together some reviews (linked below).

Here is a link that might be useful: conifer nursery reviews

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:34AM
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thanks for your helpful response!

Wondering whether Iseli (or Stanley and Sons) allows visitors? I'd love to make a trip to PNW and visit some conifer nurseries. Recommendations anyone?


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 3:38PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

call.. ask.. make an appointment, if they allow ... though i wonder why wholesalers would want to invite in someone they cant sell to???


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 4:20PM
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If I had a chance to visit PNW nurseries, I would definitely want to go to Porterhowse Farms in Oregon and Coenosium Gardens in Washington. I am sure that other folks can give you the names of other "gotta see" nurseries in the Pacific Northwest. What a wonderful road trip!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 9:55PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Both Iseli and Stanley & Sons welcome visitors as does Coenosium Gardens & Porterhowse. Just call first, like anything of this nature.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 8:38AM
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In the Bay area, I've seen Iseli plants at East Bay in Berkeley and Orchard in Lafayette. They have alot of conifers that other places don't carry.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 11:32AM
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Thanks for the good tip on Lafayette and East Bay nurseries. I used to make several trips a year to various EB nurseries, but was discouraged by seeing how empty looking nearby local nurseries are. Foe example, Just the other day was at Roger Reynolds and they have a total of about 10-15 conifers in the whole nursery. In past years I've encountered a good selection at Regan's Nursery in Fremont but this year they had almost nothing so I have been discouraged about traveling so far for nothing.

I'll have to phone and check it out.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 3:06AM
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Before the Great Recession of 2008 hit, Regan Nursery carried a very good collection of mature maples. They even had some good (and very pricey) specimens of conifers, but their collection of high value plants shrank noticeably when the recession hit hard and their collection still has not recovered to pre-recession levels. All this is also true of Berkeley Horticultural. Alden Lane in Livermore also had some nice conifers before the recession and again Alden Lane's conifers stock dropped like a rock since the recession.

There are a few still decent places in the Bay Area to shop for dwarf conifers. One is East Bay Nursery in Berkeley and the other is Armstrong Garden Centers in Dublin. What I particularly like about East Bay Nursery is they will special order plants for you, but you will have to prepay the order. Most other nurseries don't even bother with taking special orders.

If you are willing to expand your definition of the greater Bay Area, then Pond and Garden located in Cotati (which is located midway between Petaluma and Santa Rosa) is THE preeminent nursery to visit to shop for high quality dwarf conifers. Their selection of dwarf conifers is simply unmatched. Pond and Garden easily has four to five times the varieties of high quality conifers carried by East Bay nursery. Most of Pond and Garden's conifers come from Iseli. It's really worth the drive up to Cotati if you are as nuts about dwarf conifers as I am.

As is true of all nurseries carrying conifers, they receive deliveries from the Oregon growers around October, so their selection would be best starting in late fall and lasting to about mid spring. For the rest of the year, their stock is consisting of mostly leftovers. The cycle starts again in October or so.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 10:23AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Concur on Pond and Garden. He is only about 15 minutes away from me and will be my downfall....he gets stock from Iseli, Buchholz, Sommer and others and he also grows plants up from 4" and sometimes from seed. He moves up his stock to larger containers when necessary and he knows each plant in his inventory as if it were a person. He may have received the most stock in fall in the past but now he holds a 30% off sale for the month of October and typically gets most of his material in spring. He will special order to some degree. People routinely drive to P&G from all over the Bay Area. Give a call ahead to make sure that Scott will be there. He is closed on Wednesdays.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 6:24PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

I never heard of the Sommer Nursery before but after checking out their website I came to the same conclusion as with all the others: They also do have a lot of miswritten conifer names.
I would be rich be now if I'll get a dollar for every mistake they made...

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

You'd be rich if you got a QUARTER for every mistake they made!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 7:42PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Were can I put my signature? :0)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:38AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)


You wouldn't be rich.

A dollar now worth a quarter in buying power.

A quarter worth 5 cents in a country gone to hell in a hand bag. People running to and fro not knowing how to fix it.

After your taxed on that dollar and quarter you would be broke and owe the IRS money.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 5:55AM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Dave, these are serious statements...
Is the situation that bad in your country?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 6:09AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)


We are a divided country in political turmoil.

We have opposing political parties that refuse to negotiate and work out their differences for the good of the people and country. Who knows where its going. I guess we will have a better handle on it after the November elections. Regardless who wins I am not convenienced either side will put us on the road to recovery. These promises have been made before and it always ends up as business as usual.

Just my opinion and I apologize for taking this thread off subject matter.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 6:36AM
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please friends,


Right now GW is one of the few places on the internet that's free of that nonsense. Conifers and the discussion of conifers are awesome. Our trees will continue to live decades and centuries beyond whatever becomes of America.

I wish all of you a happy peaceful day resplendent with warm breezes carrying the intoxicating aroma of conifer resin.

with great repect,

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 4:12PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)


Just answering Edwins question and the concerns that confront all of us. Not politically inclined one way or the other. I am registered as an independent.

I apologized for taking this thread off subject matter.

When you become the owner of this web site you can start telling me what to do.

Contact GW and complain if I have tripped your trigger or you can go smell the warm breezes carrying the intoxicating aroma of conifer resin and chill out.

With great respect to you also my conifer friend,


    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 5:48PM
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