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The versatile conifer has no rival for adding year-round interest to a garden. Since many species are naturally quite variable, an almost infinite selection of ornamental selections—in a broad range of sizes, forms, colors, and textures—assure that there’s a conifer to suit nearly every garden.
From left to right:
1: The whorled foliage of the Japanese umbrella-pine (Sciadopitys verticallata ‘Wintergreen’) remains dark green throughout the winter.
2: One of many dwarf forms of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Hino’), this cultivar has tiny needles and a dense form.
3: Gold-tinged creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Mother Lode’) is a slow-growing form of this hardy ground cover that tolerates hot, dry locations.
Deanna F. Curtis is an associate curator at the New York Botanical Garden.