A feast for all the senses in National Conifer Week

Garden retailers throughout the UK are being given the opportunity to inspire their customers and boost conifer sales during National Conifer Week, organised by the HTA and the British Conifer Group, which will run between 27 September and 5 October 2014.

At this time of year, attention turns to the changing colours of autumn ,with conifers play a big part in the garden giving year round colour when other leaves have fallen. This makes these hardy evergreens also the perfect choice for the Horticultural Trades Associaton’s (HTA) Plant of the Month for October, championed by Olympic rower Alex Gregory MBE

With nearly a third of Britons having a conifer in their garden, these plants are visually stunning and can transform a garden into something quite magnificent. They are a wonderful way of adding colour and shape to your outdoor space especially as many conifers change colour throughout the year. With several hundred varieties of conifers available in the UK in different colours, heights and shapes, there is one to suit every type of garden and they look just as good in a container on a patio or balcony as they do in a more spacious setting.

Not only do they add height and texture to a garden, conifers can provide scent and taste to indulge in. Varieties such as the Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata ‘Atrovirens’) release a citrus and pineapple scent when their leaves are rubbed. ‘Cupressus Wilma’ is ideal for growing in large pots and containers or planted outside near doors and windows where the lemon scent can be enjoyed when brushing against the foliage.

Another variety of conifer, the juniper (Juniperus communis ) comes in a huge range of sizes and shapes from upright tall specimens to ground cover. Not only are they stunning to look at, the berries are used in flavouring gin.

The diversity of form, texture, and colour is unmatched by any other group of plants in the garden. They can be used as single specimens to spectacular effect, or combined to contrast with other plants such as deciduous trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses. The dwarf and miniature varieties are extremely suitable for alpine, scree, and trough gardens.

Being hardy, easy to care for and long-lasting, conifers are the ideal choice for the inexperienced gardener looking for a low maintenance but high impact plant.

And someone who understands all about high impact is conifer lover, Alex Gregory MBE, Team GB Olympic Gold Medal Rower. He said:

“Conifers have always been a part of my life. From the early days of climbing in their branches, to the family pilgrimage we took to the Californian giant redwoods. There’s something fascinating about the variety of sizes, colours and shapes conifers provide, they really are a feast for the senses. Every garden should have at least one conifer!”