I own almost 3/4 of an acre of landscape garden surrounding my rather boxy, not terribly attractive house.

It was a white painted house when my family moved in, January 1, 1974. It was seventeen below zero Fahrenheit that evening.

There is no uglier color for a house in Minnesota to be painted. Winter with its cold white, is the landscape season equal to all other seasons combined. Worse, the adjacent shutters were blue visually giving the house the warmth of an icycle for six months of each year. After a number of least expensive paintings afterward, the place was painted a dark ‘chocolate’ red about eight years ago.

Upon my purchase the original 1958 landscaping had remained in tact if not in beauty. The interior was neat and clean, but these were not outdoor oriented people who had been housed there previous to our invasion.

Almost every thing now growing in this property is either something I have planted, progeny from what I have planted and retained, and progeny of what Nature has seeded on my property which I have allowed to grow, sometimes on temporary status.

Once 80% of the home’s outdoor space was covered by lawn. I have retained a seven minute power mowing exercise lawn as a ground cover. I like a lovely lawn very much. I love horticultural garden plants more.

In 1976 I bought ten two-year seedlings of Northern White Pine, my favorite Minnesota conifer, to plant on the grounds. None were more than twelve inches from ‘head to toe’. It was the nation’s bicentennial birthday, my response in celebration.

Three died within three years….but seven remain to this day….three more than sixty feet tall.

No one takes botany learnings anymore. Public schools prefer to indoctrinate our children to march against global warming instead.

Most of our clients know something about trees and bushes, as the majority terms all bushy-looking things. Spiraea, rose, lilac, hydrangea, even azaleas are mentioned which separate them from the general public which is shamefully unaware of all shrubs…(“Oh, do bushes have names?”)

Unfortunately, almost no one in public America knows anything about conifers. Even the word conifer stymies the general public.

What is a conifer? The somewhat aware answer “an evergreen”, isn’t really so. Some conifers drop their green at the end of the growing season as if they were oak, ash, or maple.

The answer is actually simpler. A conifer is a cone-bearing tree. How simple can a definition be?

There are male cones and female cones…..and this is the crux to this particular article. One of these two was doing its duty and then some.

As I was enjoying this sunny day today working, playing, planting, cleaning, weeding, transplanting, in my landscape garden, around noon my eyes began to feel scratchy; my throat dry. I halted confused from my usual full speed ahead enjoyment improving the beauty around me…..and tried to discover what it was that seemed so weird.

I noticed an ‘aura’ of something like tiny, tiny particles of dust overwhelming my space, my grounds, yet I wasn’t certain if my eyes were becoming trouble only a month after my cataract surgeries, or what seemed surreal was perhaps real, and if so, what was going on?

Then the light through the dust was lit. My White Pine male cones had exploded their pollen in amounts I have never seen before. I often have shown mugho pine as an example of pollen excess during pollen season by slapping the branchings lightly…which always excited a ‘wow’ or two from those watching the wild powder that exploded.

The woody cones folks cherish for Christmas season decorations are female cones, those which carry the ovules….the female part of the pine able to carry to maturity the plants seeds to continue the life of the species.

In our world neighborhood larch and dawn redwood are deciduous conifers. Another name for larch is tamarack.