Although its lovely to have a varied selection of plants in the garden, sometimes to create a more dramatic effect it is worth considering repetitive planting, as this can draw your eye through the garden creating rhythm and a backdrop to which you can add colourful perennials and shrubs.
Structure in a garden, a bit like life can also create a calming effect in the garden making a more tranquil space. For example you often see groups of tall conifers placed together in Mediterranean gardens creating a warm, peaceful and private space.
Groups of tall upright tress with uniform shapes and habit can also add height and can take you on a journey from one vista to the next. Conifers pruned into ball shapes create a wave effect which can be the very structure and backbone of a garden.
The beauty of conifers is the majority are evergreen giving your garden colour, interest and composition throughout the year. Many need very little maintenance and can either be clipped using shears or just some light work with a pair of secateurs.
There are many gardens that show wonderful examples of repetitive planting but Mediterranean gardens are one of our favourites for showcasing great use of repetitive or bulk planting with conifers. There are so many places and books you can reference for inspiration, one of our favourite books is ‘Private Gardens of the Mediterranean’ showcasing gardens by landscape architect Jean Mus. The book is full of ideas and details that could be simplified and recreated in most gardens.
This is one of our favourite images from the book showing a beautiful avenue of Cypress tress framing the view beyond the garden:
This garden in France sits atop a hill overlooking a nearby village. "Jean Mus created [the most beautiful view] by taking a stand of gigantic cypresses and transforming it into a grand avenue which descends to a round pond surrounded by laurel trees," writes McDowell.
Here are some examples of our conifers that would look great plated in groups or repetitively throughout the garden:
'Podocarpus salignus' is also known in Chile as Mañío de hojas largas (long leaved).
Pinus wallichiana ‘Vicky’ was discovered here at Lime Cross Nursery by founder Jonathan Tate and named after his daughter Vicky. This charming variation of Pinus waliciaina is a striking lime green colour with sunset yellow hues. The whorls of needles are soft and shaggy and are said to have reminded Jonathan of his baby daughters striking ginger Mohawk (natural hair formation at birth).
Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader' is a slow-growing evergreen conifer making a small shrub of spreading, bushy growth, wider than tall, but ultimately pyramidal. The needles turn from green to a beautiful bright golden-yellow in the winter bringing warm colour to the garden. An excellent conifer for the garden, bringing some colour on those winters days. Hand grafted and propagated at Lime Cross Nursery.
Pinus Mugo ‘December Gold’ is a dwarf pine with golden needle-like leaves, contrast with other evergreens and winter flowering heathers. Spring growth is a dazzling butter yellow.