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.
I took a walk about the grounds of the Stanley M. Rowe Arboretum, in Cincinnati's village of Indian Hill, the other day to explore the trails and see first-hand the design flexibility and value of conifers in the home landscape.