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Rock and Alpine Gardening: Dwarf conifer suggestions?

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grampapa
Wheatfield, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 1, 2006
10:35 AM

Post #2338873

I started working on a heath/heather garden combined with dwarf conifers last year with an adjacent rockerie. It's definitely a work in progress. I have to get a landscaper to do all of the heavy work and I have trouble convincing them that they need to get me the varieties I specify. I think I will have to get the rest of my plants mail-order from a specialty nursery. Anybody into dwarf conifers? Or heaths & heathers? I probably won't really get into plantings for the rock garden until next year. When I wasn't looking the landscaper laid out the larger rocks I had ordered in a nice neat semi-circle. It's going to take a lot of work to get them arranged into something natural-looking. And I know I will need at least a few larger boulders.

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Tammy

Tammy
Barto, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 1, 2006
11:39 AM

Post #2338968

It sounds like fun! And with that full sun you can grow all sorts of conifers!

Tam
grampapa
Wheatfield, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 1, 2006
12:24 PM

Post #2339079

Thanks, Tam. I wish I had more time to work on it. It's coming along slowly. I found a better picture. My heather (not yet planted in this pic from last spring, but it's in the larger part of the bed with the conifers) didn't winter over too well because we didn't have a lot of snow cover this year. The smaller part in the front is intended to be the rock garden. Like I said...work in progress. I would like a small water feature at some point, but that may be a ways off. gram

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Galanthophile
North East England
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 1, 2006
4:20 PM

Post #2339869

Wow you have some great planting areas there. I'll have a look in my books for suggestions. Do you want green, golden or blue foliage? How tall ideally would you like the conifers to reach?
grampapa
Wheatfield, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 1, 2006
4:52 PM

Post #2339985

Thanks much, Galanth. Seems all the good info on dwarf conifers comes from the UK. Maybe because you folks don't generally have the space we have in the US. I'm definitely looking for golden and maybe something with a weeping form. I'd like to keep things down to 5-6feet (true dwarfs) to keep from blocking my neighbors view of the lake. What I'm looking for in the long run is a good mix of color, texture and form. I have Adrian Bloom's book on conifers & heathers. In fact, that's where I got the bug to start on this. I took some pics today. These are the ones I put in last spring. Looks a little better than the one from last year.

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Galanthophile
North East England
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

June 1, 2006
5:30 PM

Post #2340111

My favourite dwarfish conifers are the fastigate yews - I have 3 in my garden that are years old and are no taller than 4 feet. Look for fastigata standishii Summergold which grows to 4-5 feet or repans aurea. For weeping habit I think junipers are hard to beat - try juniperus x media Gold Sovereign (3 feet), another good one is juniperus procumbens Nana. I think if you have Adrian Blooms book you should look no further! Good luck! Ann
grampapa
Wheatfield, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 1, 2006
5:58 PM

Post #2340196

thanks, Ann. you've given me some homework to do. gram
UUallace
Cincinnati, OH

June 1, 2006
11:53 PM

Post #2341348

Heathers and conifers are a good combination. Ericales have no root hairs, so they use fungi. The fungi are also beneficial to conifers. Liverworts also use ericoid fungi. I have Cassiope, Harrimanella Phyllodoce empetrumiforme and Empetrum. Most conifers have a prostrate form. They evolved with the dinosaurs. It was easier for dinosaurs to eat the erect ones. I understand that side branch cutttings from yews produce prostrate plants. I have four planted in a square. I don't know the cultivars. You can call them used yews. The girl is smaller then the 3 boys. I cut them in a spiral and will be planting a tall skinny Beanpole yew in the center

http://www.world-of-fungi.org/Mostly_Mycology/Diane_Howarth/ericoid.htm

http://www.heathsandheathers.com/cart1/page2.html

This message was edited Jun 1, 2006 8:03 PM
grampapa
Wheatfield, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 2, 2006
11:20 AM

Post #2342879

Thanks for the botany lesson. I have an uncle who was a science teacher and amateur rockhound and veggie gardener. He has a lot of info to share, but this is out of his area of expertise. I just found the heaths&heathers site a couple of days ago. I bought all of mine from Rock Spray Nursery. They only carry the hardy varieties. They are located in Maine, so I'm pretty comfortable ordering from them. But it's nice to have another source. Most of the other online nurseries only have a few varieties, if at all. gram
UUallace
Cincinnati, OH

June 6, 2006
12:22 AM

Post #2356067

You said you needed larger rocks. If your uncle cannot come up with large jade boulders you might consider making them? Dave's used to have a forum called 'Hypertufa'. I guess it is merged with Garden Art. My understanding is that there is a rock called Tufa. Hypertufa is lightweight porous concrete.

http://davesgarden.com/forums/search.php?q=hypertufa&submit=%28%3A+Search+forums+%3A%29

http://davesgarden.com/forums/f/gardenart/all/
grampapa
Wheatfield, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 6, 2006
1:24 AM

Post #2356328

I've done some reading on hypertufa, but wasn't really interested in trough gardening. It never occurred to me to make my own rocks. My uncle might be offended by the concept of fakes. It's got to be more fun than trying to wrestle those big ones home from the nursery. And you could have any size or shape you wanted. hmmmm. Great idea. And maybe one large jade boulder in the middle. thanks. gram

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