Louis Bauer is Wave Hill’s Director of Horticulture.
In my first post about the auction items that we are assembling for the Gardeners’ Party on September 15, I mentioned stopping by Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington, MA, to pick up a concolor fir donated by Dennis Mareb, the farm’s founder and owner, with his wife Judy. It now sits, a pretty picture, in the courtyard behind the Perkins Visitor Center, where you can stop by to admire it between now and mid-September.
This fir was part of a number that Windy Hill acquired about 20 years ago. They had an especially nice blue coloration, and the farm watched them closely as they grew. After about ten years, Dennis and his nursery manager, Howard Wilson, noticed that one in particular—yes, our fir—was more compact and tighter growing than the others, and was obviously worth cultivating. They sent out some cuttings to be propagated by John Knight. That was about ten years ago. Fast-forward to today, and behold the first of the “progeny” of this propagation, ‘Berkshire Blue,’ ready to come to market. Below is a shot of its sire—note the watering can in the foreground, which provides a sense of scale.
We are honored that Windy Hill Farm has donated the first of these firs to our Gardeners’ Party auction: It’s one of only a handful of worthy, named cultivars of this species and we think it stands out from them. Its form compact—we don’t think it will ever reach the 30 to 50 feet typical of the species—and its needles soft and fragrant, it will make a handsome addition to some lucky garden this fall.