August in the Garden: the conifer

On a dull day the blooms shine brightly

A tall, bushy, yellow-green conifer grows to roof height: marking the start of a tangled terrace that runs along the back of the house.  The conifer itself is massive, looming large in the western garden.  I’m not a fan of conifers but I like this one.  It’s well-positioned: breaking up the view to the west and contributing to the sense of a secret garden beyond it.  We park our cars between the house and this conifer, so from the secret garden the conifer hides the cars as well as the bulk of the house.


Here it is in April – how long ago that seems!  Taken from outside the back door on the first floor.


And here is Harri – also a few months ago – in the secret garden.  The house (and the red of my car) are just visible on the right.  The conifer does its job well.

In front of the conifer, on the small area of flattish lawn between it and the cars, I’ve positioned a white cast iron table and two chairs.  The chairs are not comfortable; I never sat on them in our old garden and I don’t intend to do so here either.  But they look out over the view and they suggest a message: ‘welcome; come, sit; stay a while and drink in the view’.  At least, that’s what they say to me; I have yet to ask whether visitors hear the same message.  I don’t think anyone notices them at all: after many hours on the road, who can blame them!


The conifer also serves another purpose: it is the focal point when standing at the sink in the kitchen.  Being an upside-down house, the kitchen is on the first floor of course, and I think there has been some consideration of this when planting this conifer and its nearest neighbours.  Growing next to it, and also much higher than I would normally regard as appropriate, is the leggy lilac that I’ve mentioned before, which gave me much pleasure in June.  And through that, taking its turn in July, climbs an even leggier rose.  Up close the rose is chaotic and tatty.  It’s very prickly; the flowers are scentless and sloppy, with no form to them.  But from the kitchen sink they look beautiful.  On a dull day the blooms shine brightly: pink and inviting, although up close they are a dull and uniform red.  (I’ve failed to get a decent photo of the rose from the kitchen.  Next year!)

I’ve thought about trying to squeeze in another climbing or rambling rose here – perhaps one with hips.  Then I decided to watch and see how well this one repeats over the summer.  I now know that it doesn’t repeat: it is currently a mass of dead blooms with no new buds anywhere.  I planned a difficult operation trying to deadhead it.  Then I caught Monty Don on Gardener’s World discussing ramblers.  I learned that they do not repeat but that I shouldn’t deadhead: there will be hips come winter.  So, I shall wait and see.

And as things stand, I have no plans to reduce the height of the lilac or the rose.  Much too pretty while I’m washing up!

5 thoughts on “August in the Garden: the conifer”

  1. mm,mmmmmmm…….Love the idea of a quiet , secret garden.What about a small, rustic terracotta plant pot on your white table, containing something startling and vibrant eg a red geranium? Would that spoil your concept? xx


    1. hmmmmm….. a pot is an excellent idea, Pat. My first thought is that a red geranium would be too startling. Maybe something blue … which trails a bit. I shall certainly ponder…


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