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October's plants of the month are conifers3 October 2014
October's plants of the month are conifers, possibly the most versatile, easy-going and handsome garden tree you can buy.
You'll find a conifer for every spot in the garden, from tiny dwarf pines for crevices and containers, to giant cedars with magnificently sweeping branches. They're evergreen, low-maintenance, drought tolerant and brilliantly colourful: what more could you ask?
Conifers are particularly good at providing dense shelter from wind and sun, and make star hedging plants. Traditional yew (Taxus baccata) gives a hedge you can trim to razor-sharp neatness, while Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) is softer, with pretty sprays of aromatic leaves. Bright green Lawsons cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) is another good alternative to the notorious Leyland cypress.
Even Leylandii hedges have their plus points: they're very quick to establish, giving you near-instant results and a handsome, year-round screen. Clipping regularly is the key to keeping them in check: four times a year is standard. If that sounds like hard work, go for a slower-growing golden Leyland cypress like the variety 'Castlewellan'.
You'll find a fine selection of hedging plants at your garden centre so if you're not sure which to choose, pop over and ask our knowledgeable staff: they'll be happy to help.