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Upper side border 17 December

Upper side border 17 December

This is a side border in our upper garden. You can compare it with one I posted a little while ago showing it in the autumn.

Conifers can look good if they are healthy they don't like to be touched by other plants. We have tiered containers of begonias amongst them during the summer - and try to ensure that they don't get too close to the conifers.

Comments on this photo


What shape are you clipping there? Is it going to be a dinosaur?

17 Dec, 2008


It was a swan until the flex pulling its head down was accidentally cut with the secateurs! Most of our topiary is left to the imagination of the viewer!

17 Dec, 2008


Still very beautiful to look at. I like all the different textures, shapes and shades of green. I looked back at the other picture and, of course, it is my favorite but this definitely has its merits also.

17 Dec, 2008


Lovely FS.

18 Dec, 2008


I didn't know conifers don't like to be touched by other plants. That's something I'll have to remember when I plant one next. Thank you.

18 Dec, 2008


I like this photo.
Variety of structure and colour.
Is it okay to let a delicate climbing plant wander up through a large conifer?
Or will even such thin tendrils do damage ?

18 Dec, 2008


The border was shaded at the time of this photo so the plants are looking a bid drab without the sun. Earlier in day we cut down the photinia red robin foliage so that new red shoots will be coming through in early spring. The gaps between the conifers are waiting for the spring bulbs to come through and flower together with the camelias and after that the azaleas.
In general conifers love light. We find they will usually look healthy all over as long as other plants do not grow into them for any great length of time. We find that a few weeks of summer begonia shade does not do any harm but anything longer than that would cause some "die back" making the conifer look scruffy with areas of brown or dark grey. The delicate climber would not kill the conifer but if the climber had a large number of leaves covering the conifer foliage then some "die back" of the conifer foliage might occur.
To let extra light into the conifer we prune out any small dead branches and give them a gentle brush with a gloved hand
or shake to remove any brown bits. We especially do this at the time of winter pruning.
Winter is a time when many conifers look at their best.... such as Thuja Orientalis Rhinegold are a beautiful gold.......Nevertheless in winter we give all our conifers a "gentle hair cut" to make sure that we keep the conifers to size and the intended shape. By May most of the conifers will develop bright new growth and they will not look as if they have been cut.

18 Dec, 2008


Looks Kewl...

19 Dec, 2008


Super collection of conifers, they all look so healthy, I didnt realise they should not touch either Hywel, I see you have cut the Photinia red robin is this the usual time to prune it, will have to do ours now, perhaps it will improve it. Do you prune all the conifers in the winter?

22 Dec, 2008


With red robins, the red shoots are the new ones so we prune them as soon as the red starts to change to brown - that could be three or four times a year. We sometimes go into the plants and take out the longer branches where it won't show. We time the pruning so that the plants are colourful for our open days. Some of our red robins are 16 years old and are still less than two feet in diameter before the new shoots sprout.

With the conifers we gently, tidily, prune back some woody conifer growth in the winter (spruce) because it bleeds in the summer. The main conifer pruning is done in the winter - feathery growth with hedge cutters, others with secateurs. When pruning with secateurs we cut where it won't show e.g. cut at an angle and facing away. The lighter pruning is done in the summer. It depends on the conifer - some have lovely winter colours, such as and old gold yellow, so we might leave some of these and prune them in the summer when their drabness would be disguised by the summer flowers amongst them.

Unless you want the conifer to grow large, you have to keep it to size by pruning off the new growth - though it will, inevitably, grow bigger year on year. We find that feathery conifer growth can be cut at any time of the year. The secret is to cut so a conifer so that, as much as possible, it doesn't look like it has been cut. One golden rule is not to prune back into bare wood.

In general we try to finish the conifer pruning by January - they carry on growing in the winter and by early spring many of the conifers already have some light new growth. By doing most of the pruning by January also means that the bulbs aren't trampled on.

23 Dec, 2008


Fourseasons thank you very much for reply, I can see that you are very dedicated to your garden, and I would imagine it is quite spectacular in the spring and summer months, your advice is much appreciated, although we have been gardeners for many many years, there is still much to learn.
Merry Christmas to you.

24 Dec, 2008


that dinosaur is fab and looks very much at home.

30 Dec, 2008

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