Do you like conifers? Before I started working at the garden centre my first thought when someone mentioned the word ‘conifer’ was the huge hedging conifer known as ‘Leylandii’. There are five tall uncut ones at the end of my garden on the other side of the fence. I don’t think that they’ve ever been cut properly apart from a few lower branches and they look dark and tatty, luckily they don’t take much light from my garden because of their position and I accept them as a giant bird station. I keep telling my Rhododendron that as I wash off the grey stuff! I keep it in a recycled pond below them.
Over the years my opinion of conifers has changed and I now view them as beautiful, versatile and colourful plants that grow in various shapes and sizes and can suit lots of different planting schemes.
There are dwarf varieties that will suit containers, shrub borders and rockeries, prostrate forms for ground cover and large ones for borders or beautiful specimens. They grow in different shapes, textures, varying shades of greens, blues and yellows, some have variegated foliage. They can be formal or informal, clipped to shape as in hedges, used for screening or topiaries. Although they don’t bear flowers some produce colourful cones and many have seasonal foliage colours.
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Baby Blue’ is a lovely blue dwarf conifer with soft twisty, curly, foliage in a bushy conical shape. It’s perfect for troughs, rockeries and containers.
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwood’s Gold’ is a pretty slow growing cone shaped conifer that begins early summer with light golden foliage maturing to green by winter. It’s great for containers or mixed dwarf conifer arrangements in a border and has the R.H.S. Award of Garden Merit.
Juniperus x pfitzeriana ‘Carberry Gold’, its slow growth, semi-prostrate habit, superb golden foliage makes it an excellent choice for ‘heather beds’, borders and containers.
Cedrus deodara ‘Silver Spring’ makes a real statement as a specimen or part of a large border with its arching branches and striking spring foliage colour.
There are alternative choices for hedging too, that willgrow attractively and are more forgiving when pruned than ‘Leylandii’.
Hope you see one that you like!