Right now, it’s the last thing on your mind, but before you know it, the seasons will progress and grow colder, and many people will put their gardening tools away to sit sadly inside awaiting the next spring. What they’re missing is the primetime to plot and plan their landscape, adding colorful conifers that keep the outdoor space alive throughout the year.
Why Garden Conifers?
Simply stated, conifers are in season year round. These evergreens are hardy and functional in beauty. They provide changing color throughout the year as well as textures that cannot be replicated. The best part? They keep your outdoor space looking alive and well in those dead winter months, when perennials and other shrubs are looking bleak.
Rules of Thumb
Most conifers prefer well-drained soil and full sun. This means, if your yard is heavily shaded, you probably won’t be able to grow extremely large conifers. A great idea for those with shaded yards is to grow the conifer out of a container in a sunny spot until it reaches the height you’d like, and then plant it where you’d like to keep it.
Limit yourself to only 3-4 conifers to avoid a hodgepodge mess of uncoordinated color throughout the year. Many people go overboard with their conifer planting and create a masterpiece of a garden that looks disastrous 6 months from plantation. Consider how the conifer will grow and change throughout the year, and keep all of that in mind as you only select a few to garden.
Thriller, Filler and Spiller
You may have heard this phrase before in regards to planting conifers: You’ll want a thriller, some filler, and some spiller. The thriller should be the boldest conifer you plant, and should be the focal point of your garden. The Filler are several (one to two different types) plants of a medium to smaller size that are strategically planted around your thriller. The Spiller plants are those that are merely ground cover, and are smaller and strategically placed, spilling over into voided spaces.
Keeping in mind the range of colors you’ll get from just one conifer, you’ll be excited to see how your garden grows and changes in color throughout the year. If you’re a little overwhelmed at these complex and brilliant plants, consult with your local nursery to determine what would look best in your space year round.