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Plants for Thought

February 25th, 2009

I’ve never been a lover of coniferous plants. There are a few I like, but I think I have seen far too many blue spruce and other evergreens thrown in front of new homes with a little mulch around their feet and been called “landscaping”. I only have 2 coniferous plants in my gardens, they were planted by the original owners of the home (I had 2 more but they were oddly placed and they were cut down during the first summer we lived here). I have never had much of a desire to add conifers to my garden, I always felt like they would be out of place and boring (since they are around every new house you see). I’m a big of a cottage gardens, large, boisterous and messy and I always felt like the orderliness of evergreens would seem out of place here are Chiot’s Run.
While reading through, A Year at North Hill: Four Seasons in a Vermont Garden I came across this photo and thought to myself, “perhaps I should include a conifers in the gardens here for winter interest.” This is photo of their conifer border, it really is lovely I think. This paragraph from the book sums up why I have always disliked conifers and why I should give them a second chance:

These (conifers) are all known in the nursery trade as “bread and butter” plants, for they may be rowed out as cuttings and grown to a salable size quickly and without much trouble, thereby supplying nurserymen with reliable income. They are the darlings of developments contractors also, for they are relatively cheap, easy to come by, and they may be plunked down against the foundations of a raw new house to give it what they call a “finished” look, though of course it rarely is. The ubiquity of these conifers in new housing developments and in front of filling stations causes many sensitive gardeners to shun them; but the very qualities that make them so treasured there also recommend them strongly to the gardener for they are easy and quick to grow, are often amenable to shaping, and are relatively disease-free.

I’m hoping to add a few conifers to my gardens this summer. I already have a small Frasier fir from the farmer’s market to plant this spring and I’m sure I’ll be buying a few more. They will definitely help add winter interest to the gardens and they’re beneficial for birds (which we also like around here).

Do you have a kind of plant that you dislike? why?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.