These pale blue -- whatever they are -- were just too cool to pass up without a picture.

Technically, they are the "cones" of dwarf golden arborvitae, Platycladus orientalis (formerly Thuja orientalis) 'Aurea Nana'. They do not look much like cones. They are only about three-quarters of an inch long, and are rarely as profuse as they are here. They are less appealing as they dry and turn brown.

Dwarf golden arborvitae grows nicely while young, then slows significantly once it gets only a few feet high. Mature specimens may not get as tall as 6 feet, with nicely rounded form and cheery yellowish foliage. Other uncommon cultivars that are not dwarfed can eventually reach second-story eaves, with greener foliage. Flat sprays of soft evergreen scale foliage is suspended vertically.

Foliage is brightest yellow when fresh and new in spring, and then fades somewhat through summer, so that it might be yellowish green by this time of year. In frostier climates, exposed tips can get bronzed through winter.

Partial shade is not a problem, but subdues foliar color. Dwarf golden arborvitae, although quite resilient once established, prefers good soil and occasional watering. -- Tony Tomeo