Colour, shape and texture appeal

The conifer collection. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
The conifer collection. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
In 1999, opportunity knocked on an undeveloped space in the Dunedin Botanic Garden between the rock garden and the arboretum.

A bare grass bank offered a blank canvas for increasing the plant collections.

The clay-based slope faces northwest and is exposed to the elements - sunny, windy and dry. Most conifers thrive in these conditions and the perfect solution for the site was a collection of dwarf conifer cultivars.

Already on the site were a few established conifers, such as the beautiful weeping blue cedar, Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’, Sequoia ‘Adpressa’ and Sequoia ‘Santa Cruz’.

These plants provided the backbone to the new plant collection along with large conifers in the arboretum on the hill above, including deodar cedar, Cedrus deodara; California redwood, Sequoia sempervirens; and western red cedar, Thuja plicata.

Dwarf conifers were already dotted throughout the nearby rock garden, so this new collection provided a link through to the arboretum, increasing the scope and diversity of the existing conifer collection.

The aim was to display as many different species, forms and colours as possible in the space.

In 2001, the first half closest to the rock garden was developed and planted, then in 2012 the collection was extended along the bank behind the administration house.

There are about 115 different species and cultivars in the collection at present.

The collection is now well established and successfully shows off a wide variety of colours, shapes and textures with scattered changes of foliage colour in winter and new growth in spring.

- Garden Life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden. For further information, contact Robyn Abernethy.


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