One of my favorite ways to get ideas for my own yard is to visit public gardens. Great public gardens give me a chance to see mature specimens of trees, shrubs, and perennials and then decide which ones I would like best for my own space. A few years ago, I visited the fantastic conifer collection at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, Michigan, which has a really wonderful collection of these great evergreen trees. In many climates, fall is a great time to plant trees, so now is a good time to pick out a new conifer or two for your own garden.
Here are some of my favorites.
Blue cloak white fir (Abies concolor ‘Blue Cloak’, Zones 4–8). Conifers may not have showy flowers, but they can bring a lot of color from their needles. This selection of fir is one of the best, with incredible blue-green needles, on a plant that stays compact, making it perfect for a small garden.
Speaking of color, how about this golden hinoki false cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crispii’, Zones 4–8)? The flat sprays of needles are a bright gold that is particularly intense in the winter, exactly when you need color the most.
Weeping white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’, Zones 3–8) is one of those plants that goes through an ugly phase. Young specimens are awkward and kind of ridiculous looking. But once they get mature, they develop into beautiful, graceful trees that are a perfect complement to every garden.
Dwarf Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Pumila’, Zones 2–8) is an unusual little plant that starts life as a low mound and eventually, slowly, spreads to make a flat mat of perfect green foliage.
Here’s the wide view of part of the conifer collection at Hidden Lake Gardens. Amazing how a beautiful space can be created just by using different colors, shapes, and sizes of conifers!
For more ideas on designing with conifers, check out this article.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to GPOD@finegardening.com along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.
You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!
Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.
Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and instructional videos sent to your inbox.