Conifers Can Have a Place In Gardens!

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Conifers Can Have a Place In Gardens!

I remember first noticing the huge dark green overbearing, unpruned leylandii conifers at the end of my garden on the other side of the fence and at the time I didn’t like them at all.

Over the years I’ve changed my mind about them, evolved as a gardener and grown to love them, so much so that when the conifers were topped a few months ago I felt sad because they have been a constant hive of bird activity especially from the noisy starlings chattering away when they congregate for their bedtime at certain times of the year. Although they take a lot of moisture from that end of the garden they’re a natural wind break giving protection from the cold north winds creating a micro-climate that is especially welcome during winter.

Its a shame that some think conifers have gone out of fashion! I think they are important, beautiful plants that come in all shapes and sizes with colourful all year round interest too; they give security, home and food to a variety of wildlife including us.

An unusual dwarf conifer is Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Curly Tops’, a very pretty bush shaped conifer with ‘soft to the touch’ bright blue curled foliage from spring, turning a paler blue in winter. This curly conifer is naturally slow growing and is ideal for a conifer bed, shrub border or container planted in moist but well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered spot.

I do like the unusual so whenever I see Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’ I can’t help but think nature was having a laugh and gave it a ‘bad hair cut’. This multi-branched conifer has long glossy green tendrils for foliage giving it an unusual mop head appearance; the foliage turns bronze in winter. So if you like something in your garden a little unusual this conifer is ideal for a border or container.

Another attractive conifer is Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’, an interesting slow growing, compact upright form of Hinoki Cypress. This beautiful conifer has dark green glossy foliage that grows in waves giving a ‘ferny-mossy’ look about it. Although it does eventually grow tall its very slow growing and its compact form makes it suitable for a rockery, conifer bed or container too.