Darren Heimbecker, owner of Whistling Gardens which boasts 20 acres with 2,500 different conifers, singles out one of his favourite low-maintenance shrubs. Pinus Parviflora ‘Ogon Janome’ (Japanese White Pine or Golden Dragon eye white pine) is a slow-growing yellow-variegated conifer that handles a fair amount of shade. “You never have to touch this plant,” says Heimbecker, “just enjoy it.” He explains that it takes backstage for the summer, but is front and centre in winter with its layered colours of variegated gold, green, silver, grey and blue. It has a globe shape when young and can become broadly conical with age. Heimbecker says that after 10 years his Japanese White Pine is only about two feet. Whistling Gardens (www.whistling gardens.ca), south of Burlington, Ontario, has one of the largest conifer collections in North America featuring many rare varieties of ornamental and native trees and bushes.