Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Confers (aka evergreens) are the ultimate four-season plant and the backbone of gardens. From cute, miniature pines to stately spruces, conifers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Conifers are easy to grow if you choose the right plant for the right spot. The first thing to consider is size. You need to pick a conifer that will highlight the scale of your garden. A large conifer will quickly overwhelm a small garden, while a dwarf will be lost in a large space. The growing habit of a particular variety is very important. Some conifers grow glacially slow while others grow several inches to over a foot a year.
A specimen conifer will anchor a bed in winter and serve as a perfect backdrop to perennials in summer. We are always looking through our vast collection of rare and unusual specimens to choose exactly the right plant for a design. Even for us professionals find it challenging to identify a perfect fit, but the hunt is half the fun.
Most people think of all conifers as being green. Heck, they are called evergreens. They actually exist in many different shades of green, of course, but also blues, yellows, golds and even variegated (multi-colored) needles. Some of the blues are so bright they appear to shimmer.
As diverse as they are in color, so is their range in texture and shape. They range from tiny little buns looking things that take 20 years to mature to the size of a softball all the way to massive, dignified, and graceful as the dawn redwood which is actually a deciduous conifer, shedding its warm amber foliage in the fall.
Next time your thoughts turn to evergreens think beyond screening out your noisy neighbors or parking lot medians and be inspired to use these elegant, beautiful plants in your garden.