Exploring Conifers - Garden Trekking

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In the Jan/Feb issue of Horticulture, we featured a conifer on the cover and a feature story on the benefits of adding these workhorses of the landscape to your garden. I have been thinking a lot about conifers and wondering why gardeners, including myself, do not turn to these plants as often as we should when designing a new garden. The best reason I can think of is that it is difficult to imagine what a full-grown conifer will look like in the garden. It is also a tad more difficult for most to visualize how that conifer will work with the other plants in the garden.


Luckily the Jan/Feb issue of Horticulture goes a long way to addressing these common concerns. Another way to immerse yourself in all things conifer is to take a little garden trip. Garden trekking may not come to mind when the gardens are starting to close up for the winter, but truth be told, a well-designed garden looks great year-round. And a conifer garden laughs at winter, knowing that with a light dusting of snow, its evergreen trees will really shine.

A short hop and a skip from the Cincinnati offices of Horticulture is the Stanley M. Rowe Arboretum, in the village of Indian Hill. I took a walk about the grounds the other day to explore the trails and see first-hand what we covered in the magazine—the design flexibility and value of conifers in the home landscape.

Garden Trekking Rowe Arboretum Conifers

Front to back – ‘St. Mary’s Brood’ Colorado dwarf blue spruce, ‘Canoe’ glode hemlock, Taxus ‘Viridis’, and Taxus ‘Andersonii’ in the rear. American Holly on the left and ‘Moonstruck’ weeping Alaskan Cedar on the right.

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Garden Trekking Rowe Arboretum Conifers

Various junipers in the foreground, ‘Hiti’ columnar taxus , ‘Andersonii’ and ‘Thayeri’ taxus with ‘Ivory Chalice’ magnolia on the left and Sciadopytis – Japanese Umbrella pine on the right.

{For more great Garden Trekking ideas check out The Visitor’s Guide to American Gardens by Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp.}

Garden Trekking Rowe Arboretum Conifers

Pseudolarix amabilis or golden larch (just starting to turn color) in front with a ‘Monstrosa’ Norway spruce in the back. A little piece of a dawn redwood is in the left.