A conundrum of conifers

I don't like conifers.  I have said it before and I will (most likely) say it again.  I have never liked them.  They sit there looking lumpy-like and pretty much unchanging all year.  They have very little going for them.

Except, of course there is an except.  The one word to start shouting at this point is gingko.  Now I love a good gingko and have two of them in my garden.  They are of course a deciduous conifer.  Aha I can then retort, it is deciduous, not one of those flipping evergreen ones that sit there lumpy-like and pretty much unchanging all year.

Also in the acceptable range of conifers is the larch, specifically the japanese larch.  I have one of these planted in the driveway and again it is a deciduous conifer.  At the very end of the drive is a large solid looking evergreen conifer.  I do not know its name; it is lumpy-like and pretty much unchanging but it does house a couple of nesting wood pigeons each year so it does have a purpose.  I would not have planted it, if it dies I would not cry, but it does not offend me enough that I want to remove it (yet).

I have, however, recently purchased three small conifers.  This has been the result of a gradual turn about-face.  I saw one that I liked and then I realised where they would look good, and, well, purchasing occurred.

I hereby annouce the presence of:
 Pinus mugo pumilio.  This was the one that started the trouble, let me go in a little closer to explain.
The devil is in the detail, these little sparks of purple sold it to me.  It is also very slow growing.  In fact, perfect for growing in a container.

Let me also annouce:
Crytomeria sekkan sugi.  Also very slow growing and perfect for a container (are you sensing a theme yet?)  I look at this and think that really I should hate it.  I am not hugely fond of variagation and it might have helped that it was a cold wet day when I went out to buy this.  The colour just shone and I love the shape and form of it.  It has a waftiness and swoop that gives it grace.

and now the third and final annoucement:
Juniper pingii hulsdonk yellow (I almost bought it mainly for the name!).  But, but I hear you say, Alison this one looks rather lumpy-like and it is not going to change very much is it?  I know I know, but again let us move closer.
there is a cream, green and glaucous blue thing going on with it.  It looks like it has its own fairy lights attached.  I know I should not like it, I do not like plants like this, and yet....... and yet......

Of course you will probably have guessed by now where these have all ended up...
..... they have all been potted up and now reside in the Courtyard where I think they are adding something.  Can you see how the Cryptomeria is shining out?  As I write this I am happy with this.  I might change my mind, but I am thinking that they have added texture and form and are a good addition to my Courtyard.


  1. I am new to your blog and I really love it. thank you! I garden in USDA zone six Philadelphia, PA. I think you have mitigated your primary complaint about lumpiness in two ways, and I say Bravo! The first way is you have made your new additions portable, that way you can change their positions even when they do not change. I have a big container garden on the sidewalk in my urban neighborhood and delight in moving everything around to create new aspects. The other way is you have chosen for variety and intermingled them. This also mitigated that single-specimen-plunked-in-the-middle-of-nowhere air that conifers (especially the most usual ones) have. Much like a shade garden where variety of leaf shape can make or break it, your choices really underline the potential variety that can keep cheering you up when other plants have gone dormant. So it's down hill from here as there are so many slow growing little gems of various shapes and sizes to be had.


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