Love Your Conifers Part II
Just adding to the list of conifers out there, in here – and once again there’s nothing dull about these beauties. And there’s one for pretty much every part of the garden, in sun or shade, miniature marvels or larger powerhouses, each and everyone adding structure and all year round weight to your garden’s design. And such a variety of colour, with spiky short needles, and spiky long needles, and soft too, feathery and eminently stroke-able. Lacy, succulent, sharp, woolly, stringy and whippy. It’s all here.
And while we’re talking about conifers, I thought I’d diversify and suggest some other evergreen beauties – euphorbias, hebes, euonymus and ericas and more ….
I’m quite guilty of planning and planting great swathes of herbaceous perennials – and grasses admittedly – which can look fantastic from spring through to the last gasp of the year – but I’m planting more and more structural plants, like these, to anchor these explosions of flower. The bones of the beds and borders around which the perennials can seethe and erupt.
I’m ‘reverse-engineering’ some of my earlier planting schemes to add in even more evergreen specimens, so the eye can bounce from one to another while containing the wilder perennial planting. The Pinus mugo varieties I’ve always liked, for their specific architectural qualities, and Euphorbias have been in my planting palette all along. Box is so versatile – and Ilex crenata – as an alternative and sentinels of Yew are there too. Daphne and Choisya likewise are familiar friends but I want to do more with my shrubby and evergreen choices.
They are not represented here but the Pittosporums are very useful, for their small leaves in greens and all manner of pale variegations and that it can be trained quite amenably if needed. Different to those like Arundel Green, Irene Pattison, Elizabeth – Pittosporum tobira I am very fond of, for its architecture, large glossy leaves and headily scented flowers.
And not just bare bones, I’m definitely paying more and more attention to the diverse textures, forms, shapes and colours (and scent) that conifers and other evergreens like these can add to the overall interest in a garden, whatever the time of year. I might not be planting a 70s themed conifer garden any time soon – perennials and roses are at the heart of my gardening passions – but I can’t help thinking I’ll be using them more.
Love your Evergreens
….. and I should just add in another evergreen shrubs that we think of most when in flower, perhaps forgetting that their glossy leaves are particularly attractive all year round – Camellias. Deep dark glossy leaves that can bounce light around in the shadier spots in the garden are very much appreciated.
And in this connection, the Camellia Festival is on now at Chiswick House in West London with some of the oldest and most historically important specimens in the UK – housed in an equally impressive Glasshouse.