A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivars and Species



An article about Encyclopedia of Conifers published in The Garden magazine


An article about Encyclopedia of Conifers was published in The Garden magazine in November issue, 2012.

An article states that, "Anyone who has coveted a beautiful yew hedge or benefited from the shelter of a row of Lawson`s cypress has valued conifers. But conifers are not only for large gardens; there is a vast range of smaller ones available. Despite this, conifers have an image problem, whether it be as static `blobs` within unimaginative plantings, innocent-looking `dwarves` that quickly become giants - or poorly managed Leyland cypress hedging.

Surprising variety

Conifers are an ancient group of plants: the 615 known species are descendants of those that dominated the Earth before flowering plants evolved. They thrive in a range of wild habitats, from arid lands to swamps, and are some of the hardiest plants.

For large and medium trees you can choose from a diverse range of species: long-needled pines with elegant trunks, spruces or firs rocketing into the sky, or the many colours and textures of cypresses and junipers. A few deciduous types such as larch, dawn redwood and swamp cypress have airy foliage that takes on vibrant colours in autumn.

The species have given rise to thousands of cultivars, and this is where gardeners are spoiled for choice. Almost every conceivable shape, size and texture has arisen, especially in Chamaecyparis (false cypress). Foliage colours range from all shades of green to yellows and steely blues, plus reds and pinks from emerging foliage and cones. The challenge to gardeners and designers is how to make the most of this diverse palette. See what some enthusiasts recommend on pp62-63.

The publishing next month of the two-volume RHS Encyclopedia of Conifers celebrates this diversity. It covers 8,000 cultivars and all 615 conifer species, more than any other illustrated book. The cultivar accounts are particularly useful as size in 10 years is given for most. The RHS has international responsibility for registering conifer cultivars so the information has been checked against impeccable sources.

This book will be the ultimate resource for those who admire conifers and want to benefit from them in the garden..."

A full version of the article is available in The Garden magazine, November issue, 2012.
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