Garden Photo of the Day

A Collection of Conifers and Japanese Maples

Wow. Sometimes that's all you can say. Thanks to Brenda Addington from Suwanee GA (Zone 7b) for amazing us today!

"Anyone who has visited my garden knows that between all my roses, hydrangeas, peonies, perennials, and annuals that color always makes a statement every spring,summer and fall in my garden. However, for the last several years my spring garden has been displaying a different type of explosion of color and texture — one that involves an obsession of mine–  collecting conifers and Japanese Maples. I have been avidly collecting both for over 7 years now and there seems to be no stopping me. That is until I run out of space which I am precariously approaching ( I garden on about one acre) and when that happens I’m convinced I’ll start redesigning my landscape to justify my need (obsession) for the latest cool new conifer or alluring Japanese maple. I must admit though that this obsession of mine gives me a spectacular display of color and texture and that is something I cherish each spring"

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  1. user-7007498 04/07/2016

    Brenda: OMG, I have fallen in love with your landscape. The pops of color from the Japanese Maples surrounded by conifers is lovely. The landscape feels so relaxed, it would be so easy to lose oneself there to relieve the stress of the day. Love the color echo with the empty pot and the blue ground cover junipers (looks like blue star, but hard to see on my screen). I have less than a half acre, so I am always searching out dwarf or slow growing conifers to incorporate throughout my beds. Like you, I am always trying to squeeze another plant in any available space.
    So cool !!!!

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks so much Kevin. Yes, those are blue star favorite dwarf blue conifers.

  2. jeffgoodearth 04/07/2016

    Brenda, you're killin' me! This is absolutely beautiful and incorporates 2 of the most ardent loves of my life. The depth and layering of your plantings give the feeling of a limitless garden. I love every square inch of it. It is spectacular!

    1. Meelianthus 04/07/2016

      Fun to see you on 'Regional Picks' Jeff with your SE choices. I love the Christmas fern.

    2. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thank you kindly Jeff. I love layering with texture and color...especially with my same two loves...conifers and JapMaples.

    3. sheila_schultz 04/07/2016

      I'm seconding Meelianthus' s comment about your Regional Picks column. I meant to say something the other day!

  3. michaeljgoltzman 04/07/2016

    absolutely beautiful.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks Michael

  4. user-3565112 04/07/2016

    Every scene is beautiful.& amazing Factor in you've done this in 7 years, in clay, makes it even more so.. The stone bridge over the dry stream bed is FG cover worthy. Good luck, Joe

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks so much Joe! Yes, the clay has been a challenge but planting high and amending the soil with CLM has helped tremendously in growing conifers in my Zone 7a climate. The stonebridge is a favorite adult and child alike when people come to visit.

      1. user-3565112 04/07/2016

        Brenda, My mother in law lived in Duluth GA. off I- 85 and I helped her in her gardens. Digging holes in the clay with a pick ax was my job when we visited. We spent many hours at Pikes Nursery. The stone bridge in it's setting is a work of art. I visited your blog. & you are a genius. Good luck , Joe

  5. frankgreenhalgh 04/07/2016

    Congratulations Brenda on a great landscaping design with a lovely depth of the vista and a beautiful palette of conifers and Japanese maples. What a reward for your innovation and hard work!

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks so much Frank! Its evolved over the years and the work still continues :)

      1. frankgreenhalgh 04/07/2016

        Thanks Brenda for taking the time to reply to everybody's comments. You are not only an outstanding gardener, but a courteous one as well.

  6. Sunshine111 04/07/2016

    Wow Brenda, not only is your garden visually stunning, your local nursery must be doing a happy dance every time they see you coming!☀️

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks Lily! I wish my local nursery carried many of the conifers in my landscape but the majority came from Iseli Nursery years ago....local nurseries in my area carry more of the common conifers. but to find the unusual I have to really hunt or call on my conifer friends to help me find.

  7. user-3571852 04/07/2016

    Stunning! What is that amazing conifer in the 3rd last picture? It's full of personality.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks Margaret! That would be Picea engelmannii 'Blue Magoo' purchased from Topiary Courtyard.

  8. user-7007496 04/07/2016

    Absolutely awe inspiring!!!!!!

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks Kay!

  9. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/07/2016

    Sigh, Brenda, your garden is one of my all time favorites. I remember that some of your sharings from previous years had left me awestruck and today's is no different. Is that 'Blue Star' juniper being used almost as a ground cover? I would never have thought to do that but it is so pleasing. Love your use of weeping conifers...they become see through curtains of texture and color

    1. Clarkpark 04/07/2016

      Yes, the Blue Star with the Blue pot is stunning. I think the secret we see is not letting them grow together!??

    2. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      You are so sweet and kind! Yes, that is blue star juniper, perfect for allowing the eye to rest and take in the serenity of the blue color in my garden. I love how you write/describe in such an artistic and creative way. I find myself always reading your comments first...they are like poetry. :)

  10. diane_lasauce 04/07/2016

    Simply WOW-ZER!

  11. user-4691082 04/07/2016

    I honestly thought we were looking at a public garden. I don't even know what to say, it's so beautiful.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks Rhonda

  12. wGardens 04/07/2016

    EXQUISITE! I LOVE it all!

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thank you!

  13. VikkiVA 04/07/2016

    I've just drooled all over my keyboard! Every picture is more beautiful than the last. You have made a true paradise. Thank you for the eye candy. :) Vikki in VA

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks so much Vikki

  14. thevioletfern 04/07/2016

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! You definitely have a gardener's eye. Wonderful! Your garden is truly a work of art.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks so much Kathy!

  15. User avater
    HelloFromMD 04/07/2016

    Hi Brenda, my husband and I love conifers and Japanese maples. We have limited sun however. I'm noticing that your garden is backed by tall pines? I'm curious about the amount of sun your conifers receive. They look full. Do you have any recommendations on some conifers that would do well in 4 to 5 hours of sun? Your garden is magnificent and I hope you will send us photos when it is in bloom. Love the dry creek bed and bridge. I had the chance to build a dry creek bed for a garden that my Garden Club takes care of. A lot of work, but it looks great and actually works channeling rain water. What are your favorite conifers?

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Believe it or not my backyard receives 8 hours sun a day. That being said I do have a few part sun locations which are planted with hemlocks and arborviate 'Green Giants' back by the pines mainly for screening.
      My favorite conifers---anything weeping and the color blue!!

    2. user-7007498 04/08/2016

      i have had good luck with cultivars of Pinus parviflora, Cryptomeria japonica, Chamaecyparis pisifera, Cephalotaxus harringtonia and Tsuga canadensis in part shade locations in my garden. These are worth a look if you are getting 4-5 hours of sun.

      1. User avater
        HelloFromMD 04/08/2016

        Thank you, Kevin. I do have Cham. obtuse and the false yew. So will now look into Pinus parviflora. Exciting. Didn't think anything from the Pinus family would work for me!

  16. User avater
    HelloFromMD 04/07/2016

    I have to add that I love the blue urn with its curved lines paired with the Blue Star Junipers. You aren't just a collector you are an artist.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thank you. I discovered that urn many years ago and knew that area of the garden would have to have blue tones-blue star juniper fit the bill. Behind the blue star junipers along the river-rock bed are variegated iris that have a bluish colored blossom..

  17. NCYarden 04/07/2016

    Good morning, Brenda. Wow. If I didn't know any better, I might have thought you are a long lost sister I was not told about and also that someone found some new angles from which to take photos in my own garden. Love your obsession and your style. You are a bit ahead of me on the crowding, but I certainly get it, as I have been expanding my 1 acre plot as well, clearing the undesirable trees in my woodland area to make more room for a more interesting understory. You have set the template for my ambition. I am thoroughly impressed with your spruce varieties, as I find them somewhat difficult at times in Zone 7b - it really does seem to be about placing them properly. Well done. You decorated your space beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks so much. Would love to see photos of your garden! Yes, things are getting a bit crowded here..some pruning will be in order soon. Your right, spruces can be a challenge to grow here. I try to place them so they get some relief from our hot afternoon summer sun but sometimes it is a hit or miss scenario which I've been fortunate to only have had a few casualties over the years...

  18. User avater
    user-7007816 04/07/2016

    What an amazing collection you have put together in a relatively short time. I love the way you have blended the colors, textures, and shapes.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks so much Dale!

  19. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/07/2016

    Hi, all, just popping in again to make mention that Brenda has a blog filled with wondrous pictures of her garden throughout the seasons. Ha, just in case we aren't all sufficiently envious and enthralled with her design aesthetic...drool on, fellow gardeners.

  20. wanderinggardener 04/07/2016

    Hi Brenda,
    You have stelae not together a wonderful world of texture and color! I wonder if you could resend this with identification of some of the Japanese maples and conifers. I know I don't always remember what I have planted, but even some id would be very helpful! Thanks.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks Jody! If you have any particular photo(s) in mind that need IDing I would be more than happy to accommodate.

      1. wanderinggardener 04/07/2016

        I would love to know what the light green conifer in the first picture is, as well as the weeping branches that are blue-green next to the pink flowers. Thanks Brenda.

        1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

          The light green/chartreuse conifer is Picea orientalis 'Firefly'. The blue-green weeping conifer is a Weeping Alaska Cedar.

          1. wanderinggardener 04/07/2016

            Thanks Brenda. The mixture is fantastic.

  21. digginWA 04/07/2016

    Oh my.

  22. GrannyMay 04/07/2016

    Gorgeous! I'll be following your blog for sure!

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thank you GrannyMay. I hope to be posting more on my blog this year..took a much needed hiatus last year.

  23. CJgardens 04/07/2016


    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016


  24. sheila_schultz 04/07/2016

    Magnificent, in every way possible. WOW....

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks so much Shelia!

  25. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/07/2016

    Yeah, what everyone has said! Looks amazing. You really have married your obsessive collecting disorder to a fine eye for placement and a knack for maintenance. Every photo is more beautiful than the previous one. I feel certain that you'll get to the point where I am in my small yard, running around like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, crying 'Off with their heads!" to make room for a new treasure and to oust a poor performer.....

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Lol Tim I think I've already reached that stage...especially since there are way too many treasures I have yet to find!

  26. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 04/07/2016

    Brenda, we share your obsession with Japanese Maples and like you always manage to rearrange the landscape to accommodate just one more...or three. I love how you've blended conifers and maples to make them look like they've coexisted for years and not just seven. Beautiful!

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks for your kind words Linda.Glad we have similar obsessions...makes me feel normal :)

  27. donnapopma 04/07/2016

    All I can say is WOW!! Absolutely gorgeous!

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thank you Donna!

  28. janeeliz 04/07/2016

    ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT! What an eye you have, Brenda! So many gorgeous specimens placed so beautifully together. So many plants I want to touch!

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks Jane.

  29. schatzi 04/07/2016

    WOW indeed!!! Your garden looks like Heaven to me. I love both conifers and J. maples and you have done a superb job of blending them. Love the stone bridge, the blue pot and all the fabulous texture.

    1. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

      Thanks Shirley. Glad to meet another conifer/JapMaple lover!

      1. schatzi 04/07/2016

        and I am going to have to check out your blog. but right now it is gorgeous outside so I'm gone!

  30. brendaaddington 04/07/2016

    You are too kind Diane. I'm sure your garden is spectacular too! Warm climates do have their challenges though...especially the humidity-I've lost many a blue spruces due to my hot and humid summers- but I still try growing them anyway lol...

  31. Jay_Sifford 04/07/2016

    Brenda, you're a gardener after my own heart. We conifer/Japanese maple lovers have a common bond: we are mesmerized by texture and form. There's no other explanation for it, I think. The layers of foliage color, texture, and plant shapes are what make your garden exceptional. I would feel so at home there. Thanks for sharing, and happy gardening!

  32. perenniallycrazy 04/08/2016

    I'm so glad you're back Brenda. I love love your garden! I hope you do not stop collecting conifers and maples and never run out of space. Your garden is breathtaking in every way.

  33. Cenepk10 04/10/2016

    Oh Brenda ! I saw your garden published last year ? Fell in love with it !!! Beautiful garden you have made. And ! Youre only 19 miles from me !!!!

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