Conifers for Year-Round Colour and Interest

Thanks to the hard work of our field and nursery staff, new conifer stock has arrived in the nursery. Offering wonderful, evergreen colour ranges from blue-grey, through to various shades of green, copper and gold, conifers come into their own at this time of year.  For beautiful colour in the drab winter landscape then Pinus contorta ‘Chief Joseph AGM’ is a fabulous choice. Having light to medium green needles for most of the year, they turn to a wonderful deep, rich, golden-yellow in the winter as the days shorten and temperatures drop. Taxus baccata ‘Corley’s Copper Tip’ is a very hardy variety which is slow-growing, forming a low mound and offering rich, golden mature foliage and lovely copper new growth in spring. Another fabulous choice for golden winter colour is Pinus densiflora ‘Low Glow’, a small, mound-forming pine with short, bright green needles that turn to a golden yellow in winter. Growing to around 30cm in 10 years this is ideal for the front of the border, as a container specimen or in the rockery. Another conifer at its best in the winter is Podocarpus ‘Young Rusty’, a new form which is lovely this season when it develops a striking, deep, reddish- bronze colour.

Those looking for a larger, coniferous tree will find many select choices at Larch Cottage. Juniperus recurva ‘Castlewellan’ is a weeping specimen, with pendulous fronds of aromatic, grey-green foliage. Forming a pyramidal shape and growing to a height of 2m in 10 years, it is tolerant of most soils: a good choice for those looking for a conifer which creates impact in the garden. Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata Aurea’ creates an upright structure in the borders with its dense, columnar form of beautiful foliage edged with bright golden shades, giving the whole plant a distinctive golden appearance. A very popular form of yew and ideal for formal planting, it will reach a height of 8-12m in 20-50 years. For a lime-tolerant, specimen tree which grows to a height of 3m in 10 years, try Abies pinsapo glauca AGM, a medium to large conifer of tapering pyramidal habit with short, rigid, powder blue needles; red-brown, young shoots and cylindrical purple-brown cones.

Many of our conifers offer unusual, twisted needles and variation in pine colour. An unusual pine with twisted branches and densely set, twisted grey-blue needles is Pinus strobus ‘Contorta’ which will attain a height of 4.5m by 2m in 10 years. Pinus strobus ‘Green Twist’ is another unusual and rare form of White Pine with twisted, curly green needles. A compact grower that originated as a witch’s broom, it will reach a height of around 1m in 10 years and will be happy in acid soil. Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Saffron Spray’ is also a fabulous conifer with its delicate, pale gold splashes on a background of green branches.

Some of the dwarf species we have on offer include: Abies veitchii ‘Heddergott’, a dwarf, flat topped plant with curved leaves often showing the silver undersides and Abies grandis ‘Van Dedems Dwarf’, a short-needled dwarf, forming a compact mound of dark, green needles: a rare variety for the collector which does well in well drained, acid soil.

Here at Larch Cottage we are proud of our extensive conifer selection and to appreciate the full variety and range of choices on offer then visit our nursery, or take a look at our online catalogue available on the website.

conifer bed

(Blog post written by Jo Chamberlain)

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