In their wide variety of forms and colours conifers add a distinctive note to the garden. They need selecting with care bearing in mind not only their present appearance, but also their future development. With gardens becoming much smaller in recent years the more compact and dwarf growing varieties have become very popular. Conifers are very adaptable plants, and varieties can be found to fill most situations in the garden landscapes, from large specimen plants in the lawn to the very dwarf forms suitable for the alpine trough.
To make selection easier we have divided them into three sections – upright growing, spreading and dwarf varieties.
All conifers are evergreen, unless stated to be deciduous.
Specimen conifers, up to 6 ft high will be found on the Garden Centres during late September and October, weather conditions being suitable, i.e., warm and moist.
UPRIGHT GROWING VARIETIES
There are very few tree-like evergreens apart from the conifers. In addition to their use as hedge-makers, and the utility of the Larches, Sequoias and Pines as timber trees, conifers deserve a place in every garden, being both tall and evergreen, they give substance and interest and a frame-work for the whole garden. They can be used in the garden in the following ways:
1 – In formal garden, and topiary work.
2 – As a background for winter, flowering cherries, etc.
3 – As single specimens, in pairs, or columnar.
4 – In tubs on theor around stone walls, etc.
Most upright conifers, with the exception of Larch, etc., are supplied in containers or in hessian burlaps and these should be removed very carefully when planting, after the plant has been placed in its planting hole.
As there is a variation in the large stocks we hold of most varieties, we give the range of height that is most likely to be found on the Garden Centres. Smaller and larger plants may well be offered from time to time.
ARAUCARIA araucana (Monkey Puzzle). This distinctive conifer with its semi-pendulous branches of specially arrangedis particularly striking as a lawn specimen, but needs room to develop. 40 ft.
CEDRUS. Collectively, Cedars are the most magnificent group of evergreens available, generally reaching up to 80 ft, with an equally inspiring spread. An old specimen, with its massive trunk and its lower boughs sweeping just above the ground, can be a thrilling sight. You do need a very large garden for one – but they can be planted in village qreens fields carks. estates, etc.. as well. atlantica (AildS Cedar). Similar to, but faster and easier than the Cedar of Lebanon. 1-2 ft.
– ‘Glauca’ (Blue Arias Cedar). The most widely planted cedar – and no wonder.
Beautiful blue foliage, beautiful shape and habit. 2-3 ft.
– ‘ – Pendula’. A slow growing small tree with its silver-grey branches weeping to the
ground. Very effective when planted in the right. 1-2 ft.
deodara (Himalayan Cedar). A graceful tree, densely furnished with drooping branches of
varying grey and green shades. 2-4 ft.
– ‘Aurea’. A beautiful golden-yellow in the spring turning greenish-yellow later in the year.
1 1/2-2 ft.
libani (Cedar of Lebanon). A superb tree conical in shape when young, becoming flat topped with age. 1 1/2-2 ft.
CHAMAECYPARIS lawsoniana. We list here the varieties of Lawson’s Cypress – the group of plants most people refer to as ‘conifers’ or ‘fir trees’. The ordinary green Lawson is only used for hedging and screening purposes.
The Lawson Cypress varieties are indeed a valuable group of conifers for garden planting.
They are generally small to medium sized trees, are of tight, upright habit, densely
furnished, hardy andand are available in a good range of colours and sizes.
– ‘Columnaris Glauca’. An erect, compact conifer suitable for the smaller garden, and in
colour a striking blue-grey, associating well with Heathers and low growing shrubs
– ‘Ellwoodii’. Universal favourite among conifers on account of its compact, formal, perfectly cone-shaped habit; grey-green in colour. It is slow growing (6-9 ins per year) and can be clipped if desired; it is therefore ideal for tub-growing, in the rock garden and anywhere where space is limited. 1 1/2-2 ft.
– ‘Ellwoods Silver’. Closely resembles Ellwoodii in habit, but the foliage has a much more
silvery appearance especially in early summer. 8 ft.
1 1/2-2 ft.
– ‘Fletcheri’. Feathery, silvery-grey in colour. Dense and fairly slow, reaching 12-15 ft.
1 1/2-3 ft.
– ‘Pembury Blue’. Grows into a medium sized conical tree. The foliage is a striking silvery-blue, the best ‘blue’ cypress. 1 2 ft.
1 1/2-3 ft.
– ‘Pottenfi’. A very beautiful rather slow growing variety which forms a dense conical bush. The colour is a soft green and the foliage close-growing and even. Excellent for tubs. 12 ft.
– ‘Somerset’. A quick growing variety with delicate bronze-yellow tints, especially in its
juvenile growth. Recommended. 15 ft.
– ‘Stardust’. An upright columnar tree eventually conical. The attractive yellow foliage is
tinged bronze at the tips. 15 ft.
1 1/2-2 ft.
– ‘Wisselli’. A quite distinct and very beautiful variety – green-blue foliage in tufts. It grows
quite quickly to about 20 ft.
Erect, columnar habit. 2-4 ft.
– ‘Witzeliana’. A very useful conifer, bright green in colour and short growing reaching only 10 ft.
Close columnar habit, tapering like a spire. Very much in demand. 2-5 ft.
– ‘Wyevale Silver’. Medium sized conical tree, the foliage of which is greyish-green while the young growth is creamy-white, giving an overall ‘silver’ effect. 15 ft.
1 1/2-2 ft.
The following are other varieties of the False Cypress, but not belonging to the group of Lawson’s Cypress.
nootkatensis ‘Aurea’ (‘Lutea’). A lovely conifer with young yellow foliage, and the old growth a dull gold. Habit, fairly open. 15 ft.
– ‘Aureovariegata’. The green foliage is attractively marked with yellow. Habit, fairly open.
– ‘Pendula’. A distinctive conifer with long pendant branches. One of the most outstanding
of all weeping evergreens. 1 2 ft.
pisifera ‘Snow’. Pyramidal habit, the greyish-green foliage highlighted with new shoots of
creamy-white. 6 ft plus .
– ‘Squamosa Lombarts’. Broadly pyramidal in habit, the soft feathery foliage is blue-grey
in summer, turning to purplish-bronze in winter. 6 ft plus .
– ‘Squamosa Sulphurea’. A broadly conical or domed-shaped conifer. The dense foliage
is greyish-yellow, feathery and soft to touch. 1 2 ft.
1 V2-2 ft.
CRYPTOMERIA japonica ‘Elegans’. Of bushy habit this conifer turns a rustic bronze in autumn and winter, while during the spring and summer it changes to a light green. Excellent
background for winter. 1 2 ft.
x CUPRESSOCYPARIS leylandii. This is the fastest growing conifer and therefore used
extensively for hedging and screening purposes. It can be used as a specimen, when its
green foliage and pleasant branching structure show off to advantage, but it may reach
Does well in coastal areas, but will need staking until established. 2-3 ft.
x – ‘Castlewellan’. An outstanding form of the popular Ley/and Cypress. During spring and
early summer, the foliage is a pleasing shade of bright yellow, tending to darken with
age. With its quick rate of growth and attractive colour, this will surely become one of
the most popular and striking hedging plants. x – ‘Robinson’s Gold’. More compact than Cast/ewe/Ian. Foliage yellow, but bronzy-gold
during winter, early spring. Suitable for screening and hedges. CUPRESSUS arizonica ‘Conica’. Conical shape, distinctive cones and glaucous foliage. 25 ft.
Young plants T-2 ft.
macrocarpa ‘Donard Gold’. A broadly columnar tree with bright golden-yellow foliage,
colouring best when planted in full sun, tending to turn green when planted in shade.
– ‘Golden Pillar’. Similar in colour to Donard Gold but the habit is more columnar and
upright. Both varieties are excellent plants for growing in coastal areas. The golden forms also do better in full sun. 1 2 ft, 2-3 ft.
sempervirens ‘Stricta’ (Italian or Mediterranean Cypress). A slender, columnar tree with historical associations and seen all over the Mediterranean. Not for cold places. 25 ft.
Young plants in, 2-3 ft.
GINKGO biloba (Maidenhair Tree). A deciduous conifer, with unique fan-shapedwhich turn gold before falling in the autumn. Slow growing and upright in habit. 20 ft.
Ginkgo biloba is probably the oldest form of tree in the world, having existed for over 150 million years over many countries. 3-4 ft.
JUNIPERUS. The Junipers are well known and very popular. They are rather prickly and the foliage is reputedlyto cattle. They are quite small and so are suitable for most gardens. Ultimately 10-15 ft.
communis ‘Hibernica’. An excellent conifer – fresh green in colour, but even more effective because of its pillar-like shape – no wider at the base than at the top. Excellent m, especially when planted around with prostrate plants like ‘Mariesii’. Stands clipping well. 1 2 ft.
scopulorum ‘Springbank’. Broad pyramidal habit with thin grey-green foliage. Particularly attractive during the summer months. 5-6 ft.
squamata ‘Meyeri’. The rich blue foliage sweeps upwards at en angle of 60-70 degrees. A fine conifer for growing as a specimen. There is a tendency for the foliage to brown at the base,in spring to encourage new growth. 5 x 4 ft.
1-1 14 ft.
virginiana ‘Skyrocket’. An outstanding conifer of slender and columnar habit, pointing upwards like a spire. An excellent subject for giving form and contrast even in the smallest garden. Foliage is dense and grey-green in colour. 9-1 0 ft.
1 14-3 ft.
LARIX /Larch). The Larches combine utility and beauty. There is no more welcome herald of spring than the pale green of their awakening buds, or a more mellow shade than the autumn colour of their foliage. They are best grown in bold groups, but as they grow up to 80 ft they are unsuitable for the small garden. Deciduous.
decidua (European or Common Larch). Wide, spreading branches. Approximately 3 ft.
leptolepis (Japanese Larch). This is the Larch frequently used for afforestation. Quick growing with red twigs which look lovely on a plantation in winter. The bright green foliage is superb in spring. Approximately 3 ft.
(For planting in quantities we can quote for young forestry-grown trees at suitable prices.) LIBOCEDRUS decurrens. The Incense Cedar of which there is an unforgettable group at the Westonbirt Arboretum. It makes an immense, dark green tree up to about 60 ft very columnar in shape. 1 14-3 ft.
METASEQUOIA glyptostroboides. The popular name Dawn Redwood is somewhat easier. Its historical background is fascinating for a single grove of this conifer was found in a secluded valley in the heart of China in 1 941. It is a most graceful and lovely deciduous conifer, flourishing both in damp and dry positions, with beautiful shaggy bark and fresh green foliage which turns shades of tawny-pink in autumn, The tallest specimen in this country is now about 40 ft.
MONKEY PUZZLE. Please see under Araucaria araucana.
PICEA. The Spruces range from the common to the exotic. They are generally broadly pyramidal in shape and are easily distinguished by their pendulous cones. In general they prefer a moist damp soil.
breweriana (Brewers Weeping Spruce). A rare and beautiful weeping Spruce with long pendulous branches of dark blue-green. Very slow in its early stages. 1-1 14 ft.
excelsa (Abies). The authentic Christmas Tree or Norway Spruce ultimately reaching 80-100 ft.
omorika. The Serbian Spruce grows into a tall, arrow-tree, with graceful, drooping branchlets, silver beneath. Easy and fast. 60 ft.
pungens ‘Hoopsii’. The form and colour of varieties of Picea pungens never fail to attract and this variety is no exception. The foliage is a startling silver-grey produced on irregularly tiered branches. The central shoot needs to be trained and supported with a bamboo cane for the first few years. Excellent as a specimen plant in the lawn and underplanted with heathers. 6-10 ft.
– ‘Koster’. The best form of the Colorado Blue Spruce. The bright blue foliage is particularly intense in spring. Makes a grand specimen up to 20 ft, but is slow growing. 1-2 ft.
PINUS. The Pines are happy in most poor soils and make an excellent screen or windbreak. They are also invaluable for landscaping with their picturesque tree-like structure, bold evergreen foliage and rugged handsome bark.
mugho (Mountain Pine). A short stumpy bush thriving anywhere. 1 ft.
nigra austriaca (Austrian Pine). A dark foliaged tree eventually becoming umbrella-shaped with age. Thrives well on most soils and in exposed situations, makes an excellent windbreak. 60 ft.
1 14-2 ft.
strobus (Weymouth Pine). A handsome tree, of elegant foliage and shape. 50 ft.
sylvestris (Scots Pine). Very picturesque in their ultimate development, with their reddish-pink bark and rugged appearance. Short needles and brown cones. 60 ft.
wallichiana (griffithii) (Bhutan Pine). A large broad headed pine with long needles grey-green m colour. The cones are a significant feature of this species being large and banana-shaped and covered in resin. Very attractive and ornamental variety.
SEQUOIA sempervirens. The Californian Redwood is the tallest tree in the world, the tallest
specimen exceeding 360 ft in the USA and 1 30 ft in England. Small yew-like leaves,
and attractive spongv reddish-brown bark. 1 -3 ft.
SEQUOIADENDRON giganteum. The Wellington/a or Mammoth Tree or Big Tree of
California. Not as tall as the above, but because of its bulk, it is generally accepted as the
world’s largest living thing. Slower m growth than the Redwood, but equally attractive
bark. 1-2 ft.
TAXODIUM distichum (Swamp Cypress). A deciduous conifer, ultimately reaching 80 ft and
the most suitable conifer for wet and waterlogged soils. Pretty green leaves turn bronze
m autumn, and the reddish-brown bark is a striking feature of older trees. 1 1/2-3 ft.
TAXUS (Yew). Excellent for hedging or for specimen planting. Yew trees have long been
popular in English gardens. baccata (Common Yew). A medium sized tree of noble growth, but more often used for
hedging purposes. Foliage is dark green, red fruits are produced on established plants.
Prefers a well drained soil.
– ‘Fastigiata (Irish Yew). Very dark green foliage and upright columnar habit, the base of
a tree 1 Q ft high would be unlikely to exceed 2 ft across. 1-3 ft.—– ‘Aureomarginata’. A slower growing, dwarf form of the Irish Yew, the foliage
margined with yellow, seldom exceeding 10 x 2 ft.
Good for tub culture, a specimen in
the rockery, etc. 1-3 ft THUYA. The Arbor-vitae have thicker foliage than Chamaecypans, and, after ram give off a
scent which vaguely reminds one of crushed pineapple. Ultimately 20-30 ft.
plicata (lobbii) (Western Red Cedar). A bold specimen, quick and easy, with dark green
foliage, but generally used for hedging and screening.
– ‘Atrovirens’. Fast growing upright conifer with bright glossy green foliage. Makes a bold
plant as a specimen, but its main attraction is for hedges and screening. Its close dense
habit and attractive colour combine to make it a popular choice for hedges. Deserves to
be more widely grown. YEW. Please see under Taxus.
SPECIMEN CONIFERS-WILL GENERALLY BE FOUND ON THE GARDEN CENTRES FROM LATE SEPTEMBER UNTIL APRIL. LATE SEPTEMBER AND EARLY OCTOBER IS THE BEST TIME TO COME (PROVIDED THAT WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH RAIN TO LIFT THEM)
The spreading or carpeting conifers have a valuable role to play in the garden. They are useful for covering banks and unsightly objects such as pit covers. They provide excellent ground cover in the front of shrub borders and alpine gardens and associate well with Heathers, Japanese Maples and the smaller fastigiate conifers. All of the varieties are pot grown, and will have a spread of 1 -2 ft.
They will grow away quickly and easily and are absolutely hardy.
JUNIPERUS chinensis ‘Kuriwao Gold’. A variety originally from New Zealand. More dense and upright in its habit than Juniperus ‘Pfitzenana Aurea’. The foliage being golden-green throughout the year. Very hardy ground cover variety. 4-5 ft spread.
communis ‘Depressa Aurea’. A very attractive prostrate conifer very much in demand. The young shoots are bright golden-yellow during the late spring and early summer, turning to bronze as winter approaches. Needs to be planted in full sun to obtain the best colour.
– ‘Hornibrooki’. Very prostrate, no more than 6 ins high, with close set grey-green foliage, and an attractive twisted habit of growth, covering an area up to 5-6 ft.
Very useful ground cover at the front of borders, and useful for covering manholes, etc
– ‘Repanda’. A vigorous prostrate conifer of neat growth, the flat foliage sprays are dark green in colour with a hint of bronze during the winter months. Excellent for ground cover.
horizontalis ‘Emerald Spreader’. Completely prostrate variety, the long horizontal branches completely hugging the ground. Foliage emerald-green. Soon spreading to 5 or 6 ft.
– ‘Hughes’. An excellent prostrate variety. The pleasant silvery-grey foliage is slightly raised
above the ground, eventually spreading up to 5 or 6 ft.
– ‘Prince of Wales’. A dense carpet of branches with bright green foliage. An excellent
ground covering variety. Suitable even for the smallest garden. A popular name and its beautiful form should contribute to its success. 2-3 ft spread.
– ‘Wiltonii’ (Blue Rug). Prostrate variety with long spreading branches of glaucous blue
foliage. Good ground cover. 5-6 ft x media ‘Mint Julep’. An American introduction becoming very popular in this country. The
strong arching branches are a rich mint-green in colour. This variety associates well with
Heathers and is a good contrast, both in colour and form, to the smaller upright
– ‘Old Gold’. Similar to Juniperus ‘Pfitzerana Aurea’, but more compact in its growth, and
the golden foliage holds its colour well throughout the year. 4-5 ft spread.
– ‘Pfitzerana’ (Knap Hill Savin). A most handsome variety with wide spreading branches
which rise from the ground at an angle of 30 degrees. The colour is a pleasing bright
green. In time it can make a large bush.—– ‘Aurea’. Similar in habit and growth to the above, but the curving tips of the branches
are a soft yellow in spring and early summer.—– ‘Compacta’. Similar to Pfitzerana but more low growing and compact, and sporting
mainly juvenile foliage. 5-6 ft spread.
– ‘Sulphur Spray’. A semi-prostrate sport of Juniperus ‘Helzi’. The foliage is quite distinct,
taking on a creamy-yellow appearance early on and gradually becoming brighter yellow
throughout the summer. A first-class plant for associating with Heathers and other dwarf
conifers. 5-6 ft spread. sabina tamariscifolia (Spanish Juniper). A lovely low growing variety, suitable for specimen
planting as it builds up lay by layer, ultimately reaching 2 ft with a spread of 8 ft.
Feathery green foliage. squamata ‘Blue Carpet’. A well grown specimen of Blue Carpel always attracts attention.
The colour of the low growing prostrate branches is an intense silvery-blue, making it the
best grey spreading conifer available. Some lightmay be necessary to keep the
centre of the plant dense and a good colour.
A great deal of attention has recently been paid to these delightful dwarf Conifers and we have excellent stocks available. They are ideal for the small garden, where they give more pleasure each year. In the large garden they may be used in rockeries, where their attractive colour and shape make them beautiful in winter, at the front of shrubberies and borders and near the house. They combine excellently with miniature roses and are suitable for planting on graves and in window boxes. They also add form and contrast to a heather garden.
Miniature Conifers are sold inand will be 4 ins to 1 ft in height, according to the variety. The ground around them should be cleared of weed and kept clean, or they will soon be overgrown.
The height given is the ultimate height which in some varieties may not be reached for 20 years.
CHAMAECYPARIS lawsoniana ‘Ellwoods Gold’. A smaller and neater form of the well-known Ellwoodii, with lovely soft gold foliage, especially attractive on the new growth. Growing to about 6 ft.
– ‘Ellwoods Pillar’. A beautiful variety, a true miniature of Ellwoodii with feathery blue-grey
foliage. A super variety for the rock garden orborder. Would be suitable for planting in small ornamental containers. 2-2 1/2 ft.
– ‘Minima Aurea’. A dense mound, with ascending branches, with soft golden-yellow
foliage, turning deep yellow-bronze in the winter. This variety must surely be one of the best dwarf conifers. 2 ft.
– ‘Pygmaea Argentea’. The bluish-green foliage is tipped with creamy-white shoots. Very
slow growing. 1 1/2 ft.
obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’. Dark green foliage set in cupped whorls. This is a beautiful plant
always assuming unusual and delightful shapes. 7ft.
– ‘Tetragona Aurea’. Unusual moss-like golden foliage in irregular whorls. Needs to be
planted in full sun. 6 ft.
– Tonia’. A rare and delightful miniature Conifer, seldom exceeding 2-3 ft.
Similar to the
above variety but with the tips speckled silver, giving a silver effect to the whole bush. pisifera ‘Boulevard’. Pyramidal, formal habit, steel-blue foliage. This lovely and versatile Conifer has rapidly gained popularity, and is now one of the most widely planted dwarf Conifers. It stands heavyand clipping and is excellent in tubs, window boxes, etc. 4 ft.
JUNIPERUS chinensis ‘Obelisk’. Upright, columnar habit, the whole plant is densely packed with juvenile foliage which is bluish-green in colour. 4 ft.
– ‘Pyramidalis’. Vigorous upright plant, broadly pyramidal in shape. The rigid juvenile
foliage is bright blue-grey in colour. Effective when associated with Heathers and
prostrate Conifers. 6 ft.
communis ‘Compressa’. Perhaps the choicest of all alpine Conifers. A perfectly shaped
cone of dense green foliage. Very slow growing. May ultimately reach 2 1/2 ft.
squamata ‘Blue Star’. A first-class Conifer, the compact bushy growth, and the bright
silvery-blue of its foliage combine to make this a suitable and popular plant for the
smaller qarden. 1-1 1/2 ft.
MICROBIOTA decussata. A rare dwarf Conifer related to the Junipers. The densely branched
domed shrub has dark green foliage, turning brownish in winter Produces small berrylike fruits. 4-5 ft.
PICEA abies Little Gem. A little Gem for the rock garden. The densely packed branches and
foliage form a very neat, tight mound of bright green. 1 ft.
– ‘Nidiformis’. A charming little rock-plant with beautiful uvenile foliage making a
spreading flat-topped bush of great charm. albertiana ‘Conica’. This makes a perfect miniature cone, an ideal Conifer for the rock
garden or for planting in tubs and containers. The foliage is soft to the touch and bright
green in colour This Conifer can sometimes be attacked by red-spider, a dusting of
Malathion will help to control the pest. SEQUOIA sempervirens ‘Adpressa’ (‘Albo-spica’). A miniature form of the California/!
Redwood with silvery tips to the foliage. A real gem. 4 ft.
TAXUS baccata ‘Repanda’. A low growing and wide spreading Yew particularly useful for
ground cover in shady situations. The foliage is dark green 3 x 5 ft.
– ‘Summergold’. A semi-prostrate Yew with foliage of bright golden-yellow. Slowly
building up to an irregular mass. 2-3 ft high by 3 x 4 ft wide. THUYA occidentalis ‘Emerald’ (‘Emeraude’. ‘Smaragd’). A very useful and adaptable conifer. Upright and columnar m habit, with bright green foliage, it is superb as a specimen in the shrub or heather border where its shape provides an accent point. It is also widely used for a neat compact hedge, needing little or no trimming. 8-9 ft.
– ‘Rheingold’. One of the most popular conifers in this colour range Habit is broadly
pyramidal and the foliage is deep golden-yellow in the summer months turning to a rich coppery-bronze during the winter. A conifer that is particularly effective when used in thegarden.
– ‘Sunkist’. A continental variety which is showing great promise. Slowly forming a densely pyramidal conifer with foliage of a deep gold, deepening to a rich amber-bronze yellow in the winter months. Looks very attractive in the winter garden. 3-4 ft.
orientalis ‘Aurea Nana’. Forms a compact rounded bush of pleasing appearance. The layers of flattened branchlets are closely packed and are golden-yellow in summer deepening in the winter months. 2-21/4 ft.
– ‘Meldensis’. Dense globular habit, the juvenile foliage is dull green, turning to plum-purple in winter. Can in time form a bush of considerable proportions, but under normal growing conditions, expect a plant up to 5 or 6 ft.
TSUGA canadensis ‘Jeddeloah’ (dwarf Eastern Hemlock). A mound-forming conifer with a somewhat semi-prostrate habit. The semi-pendulous branches are covered in light green foliage. Something different for the heather bed or rockery. 1 1/2-2 ft.
– ‘Pendula’. A beautiful conifer for the rock garden or heather border If allowed to develop naturally the pendulous prostrate branches produce a mounded dome-shaped plant, but if the branches are trained upwards and supported for a few years a very graceful weeping specimen is produced. 3 x 4 ft by 3 x 4 ft spread.