Gardening fashions are a definite reality with certain plants gaining favour rapidly and then losing support and momentum to the point that they are no longer cultivated. Numerous examples abound, none more so than the group of plants collectively known as ornamental conifers. Grown for their colourful foliage and year-round appeal, they were fashionable in the latter part of the last century. Old age, cypress aphids and monotonous appearances can be attributed to their demise.
Today they are seemingly making a come-back. Easy to grow, cold and drought tolerant once they’re established along with sleek shapes and good looks make them ideal subjects for the modern garden that requires minimal maintenance. Perhaps the manner in which they are used in the landscape today, being integrated into more formal styles and combined with contrasting under-plantings will see conifers being utilised more and more. Besides being outstanding focal plants, they are excellent in pots and containers as well. A select range of tried and tested conifers is available to add constant good looks to the landscape. They vary from thin pencil shaped Juniperus ‘Skyrocket’ to rounded Platycadus orientalis ‘Aurea Nana Compacta’ and low spreading carpets like Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’. Conifers are always at their colourful best during the cold winter months and can be transplanted at this time.