• Sandi Manna

Not Your Grandmother's Conifers

Conifers have evolved over the years. Gone are the days of only green conifers. Plant breeders have worked hard to create a more colorful palette of conifers that now display an array of colors. There are conifers that come in blue, yellow and orange as well.

Conifers do wonders in our landscape. Often underutilized, there are an array of conifers that have unique color, texture or both. Conifers not only come in a variety of colors, they also come in a variety of shapes. There are upright, mounding, weeping, dwarf and more.

Often in Connecticut, we see the typical yews, rhododendrons and azaleas that we all grew up with lining the front foundation of our parent's and grandparent's homes.

I'm here to tell you that conifers have evolved!

Monrovia, a well known and respected plant grower has several varieties that are great for our zone. We start off with

Sea of Gold Juniper. This is a shrub that reaches only 3' tall so it fits in almost any garden. Lacey foliage tinged with yellow deepens to a rich gold in winter. This is a standout in the landscape and sure to brighten the bleakest winter day! This shrub requires full sun to get that rich, gold color.

Conifers are great for wildlife. One client in Madison contracted us to design a garden specifically to attract birds. Conifers create shelter for many songbirds along with being a beautiful addition to any garden.

Here are 2 beautiful trees we installed in one of our Durham landscapes. to the left is an Umbrella Pine. Unique, thick needles make this an exceptional specimen tree. On the right is a Thunderhead Pine. Great form and texture on this tree as well.

A very unusual conifer is Ember Waves Western Arborvitae. This is more like a small tree, reaching up to 25 feet tall. Rich russet hues come on with colder weather.

If you're looking for more color in your conifers, go no further than Monrovia's website, https://growbeautifully.monrovia.com/trend-colorful-conifers/

Conifers, can really be the backbone of your garden, and can steal the show in winter. Variety is the spice of life, so consider mixing a variety of conifers such as a dwarf white pine, with larger conifers such as the Umbrella Pine or Thunderhead pine in our Durham, CT garden above.

Conifers create interest all year long, but really come to life in winter. By planting them among deciduous shrubs and perennials, they'll add color and texture all year long.

If you're looking for even more information on conifers, hop on over the The American Conifer Society at http://conifersociety.org/conifers/conifer-colors/

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