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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?

15 Comments to “Plants for Thought”
  1. Allie on February 25, 2009 at 6:00 am

    I love pine trees. I don’t know why, but I love everything about them – smell, shape, color, texture.

    We have these awful shrubby/flowery bushes on the side of our house. I don’t know what they are, but they spread and the roots go deep and they get overgrown very quickly. Hate them!

    Allie’s last blog post.. Mannequin, McCarthy, Cusack, et al

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  2. kristin on February 25, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I’m NOT a fan of conifers that people plant all around their houses. Here it’s mostly Norway spruce, which do grow well, but there is nothing more depressing and dreary-looking to me than a house enclosed and shaded by big old spruce trees. Even in winter, when nothing else is green, I hate those big trees blocking houses.

    kristin’s last blog post.. Yet Another Half-Assed Recipe from Kristin’s Kitchen

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  3. Teri on February 25, 2009 at 10:54 am

    That picture is lovely and demonstrates how conifers help with the backbone of the garden. We only have one on our place and I really like it. It is a pine tree but I don’t recall what kind it is. We planted it to provide some shade to the back of the house. I would plant more conifers and trees in general, but they all block my view. So placement space is limited:)

    Teri’s last blog post.. 55/365

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  4. ChicagoMike on February 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Thats easy.

    Mulberry trees. One of my neighbors CHOSE it, and CHOSE to place it in the VERY VERY corner of his yard a couple of years ago. This happens to be the corner near my GARDEN. So I am constantly fighting mulberry saplings. And birds.


    I hate that tree!


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  5. rachel on February 25, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Conifers aren’t much of an issue in Phoenix, some people have some pine trees, but it’s not like in other parts of the country where EVERYONE has one. The plants I dislike most are 1. Bermuda (who doesn’t, right?) and 2. Oleanders. Lots of people use them out here for hedges, the grow to be giant and the roots get in your pipes and make a big mess. Not to mention they’re poisonous and other things won’t grow well near them. Stop planting those Oleanders Phoenicians!!!! 3. Lantana, I don’t think they get in your pipes, they have a pretty enough flower, but they are impossible to get rid of and they spread all over the place. Also poisonous.

    rachel’s last blog post.. Home-made olive taste test

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  6. Susy on February 25, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Oh yeah, another plant I very much dislike, lilacs. I know, I know so many people LOVE them. But I’m very sensitive to strong smells and these bushes as just too overpowering for me, they kind of make me nauseous.

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  7. Dan on February 25, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    That is one stellar garden in that photo! Another tree that has great winter interested is any beech tree. You can find them in different forms for different sized gardens and they hold their leaves for most of the winter. You have probably seen them in the forest during the winter as an understory tree, holding their coppery colored leaves. They are just beautiful.

    Dan’s last blog post.. Double Header Recipe Post

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  8. Carol on February 25, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I have a deep and abiding dislike for marigolds. I think it’s because it’s the only thing my mother ever planted. (Or, perhaps more accurately, made us plant.) Every year, in the area just behind the stone wall that curved down from the house. Stinky things. Bah!

    No, I’m not bitter. Why do you ask?

    Carol’s last blog post.. Readings from Ephesians. Sort of.

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  9. Susy on February 25, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I dislike marigolds as well Carol, but this past year I did plant them in the garden for the beneficial insects. I must say they weren’t as bad as I thought. I think I dislike them because I don’t like orange flowers all that much. I also dislike daylillies, there’s just something about them I don’t really like.

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  10. Pampered Mom on February 25, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Gorgeous picture! I have a deep seated dislike for green shrubs of any kind. You know, the kind that pretty much comprises most suburban yards in my area – except instead of mulch at their feet they have rocks. Now, I like green and it’s many shades, but it seems like with some folks that’s all they have!

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  11. Plant & Gardening Tips on February 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Lovely picture. I love Roses, I don’t know why but maybe because my husband give me different color of roses every special occasion. And they are just beautiful and very romantic.

    Plant & Gardening Tips’s last blog post.. Deer damage to Rose of Sharon

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  12. Marcus on February 25, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I tell ya what, here in Georgia, you cant get away from pine trees- long leaf, short leaf. They are everywhere and when they start to bloom, you can see the yellow in the air. The pollen covers everything and does wonders for the sinuses, but I do love them even though they cause me to walk around doped up on Benadryl (sp?) in the spring time.

    Marcus’s last blog post.. Where to Shop for your Outdoor Plant Container

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  13. Mangochild on February 26, 2009 at 4:44 am

    We have more pine trees and other conifers than I am thrilled with – not so much for the tree itself, but for the fact that *everyone* has them. I wish there was more variety, rather than each house with the same landscape. Not just for the eye, but also for the natural variety…. oh well.
    As for a plant that I don’t like, its a flower really, but I hate carnations and impatiens. No logical reason, just don’t like the way they look…

    Mangochild’s last blog post.. Satisfying Snacks Local Style?

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  14. Conifers in the Garden | Chiot's Run on March 25, 2009 at 4:48 am

    […] you remember a few weeks ago I talked about wanting to add more coniferous plants to the gardens here at Chiot’s Run. Ironically, while I was out working the other day I noticed a […]

    Reply to Conifers in the Garden | Chiot’s Run's comment

  15. RCSmith on December 1, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Hi – I found your blog while searching for info about growing conifers. You seem to be somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to conifer gardens, so as a true believer, I thought I should include a link that may make a convert out of you too!

    Happy gardening!

    Reply to RCSmith's comment


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.

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