Conifers in a garden

Using conifers in the garden

By Paul Hervey-Brookes, May 13

Using conifers in the garden

Conifers in the gardenConifers always seem to get bad press but really most people only link the word with leylandii hedges that have been allowed to grow out of control.

Conifers, in actual fact make superb garden plants. They have a wonderful variety of colour and textures and can give the garden a rich tapestry effect and the key to good planting is to get your conifer to suit and fit the space you want it in. Minima Aurea is a very popular dwarf cypress with golden yellow leaves and would suit a smaller garden. Also popular for small gardens are: Globosa a slow growing Colorado spruce that is a beautiful blue in colour. Also suitable for a small garden is J.W. Daisy’s White a very slow growing, white conical spruce or Nana Gracilis, a dark green slow grower that form shell like crests of foliage.

If you have a large garden there is more choice. Swane’s Gold, Carsten’s Wintergold, Skylands or Golden Spreader to name a few. These will add a lovely golden hue to your garden and can be trimmed every year to make sure they do not overshadow other plants. By choosing the right conifer for your space you will not need to drastically hack away at them, leaving scars that do not heal as they grow. All conifers need good drainage and if you like them to be more yellow plant them in full sun. Partial shade will soften them down to a blue.conifers in a walled garden

Although conifers do not have flowers they still produce pollen for fertilisation. This is done through pollen cones (stromili) which are colourful, short lived structures that fall to the ground after producing pollen. So, with a little thought, conifers can bring marvellous qualities to the garden with their impressive range and instead of being much maligned, just need a little understanding.


Paul has his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks and Spencers.

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