Conifers & Evergreens

Gorse (Ulex europaeus)

Most commonly seen on hillsides and moors, Gorse can give evergreen colour and definition to garden borders or hedging. Left unpruned, it can reach up to 2m (6ft) in height with a similar spread, and thrives in exposed, sunny positions in well drained, sandy soil.

A familiar sight, the Gorse gives a flush of colour twice a year in spring and summer with its bright yellow, scented flowers. A tough, low maintenance shrub, its dense and thorny branches provides resilient year round ground cover.

Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

A common UK native, the Holly is a familiar sight in hedgerows up and down the country. Favoured in hedging for its fast growing, thick coverage, it’s also a frequently coppiced tree. As a small tree, the Hazel can typically grow from 3 - 8m (10 - 26ft), but can reach 15m (50ft). Hardy and adaptable, it grows well in all soils ranging from dry to wet and well-drained.

Preferring a sheltered location, the Hazel is shade tolerant, but does flourish a full sun position if possible. WIth yellow catkins appearing in mid-February, it’s often first to provide colour. And, providing a rich food source for birds and wildlife, its nut clusters appear from September/October onwards.

Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Perhaps best known for its purple-blue berries used in gin making, the Juniper is just one of the UK’s native conifers. Growing to around 8m (25ft) with a spread of around 4m (13ft), this hardy specimen is a relatively fast grower. When planted in its preferred sunny location, it thrives in a wide range of well-drained soil types.

Well suited to most garden sizes thanks to its lack of required pruning, the Juniper has fragranced evergreen needles with yellow (male) or yellow-green (female) flowers appearing in the spring. Once pollinated by the wind, the berry fruits ripen in the autumn. It also provides protective cover for birds and wildlife thanks to its dense and thorny structure.

Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)

One of the UK’s best known hedging plants, the Privet is a hardy evergreen, perfect for boundaries and screening. Growing at an exceptional rate, Privet can reach heights of around 4m (13ft) to create a dense, low maintenance hedge that provides an excellent barrier to noise and wind.

Thriving in practically any soil type, Privet can grow just as well in almost any location, from full sun to full shade. Clusters of white flowers appear in summer, which then give way to small, black berries, much loved by birds and wildlife, in the autumn. However, regularly trimmed Privet will not produce flowers or fruits.

Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Our only truly native pine, the Scots Pine is commonly planted all over the UK, but grows wild in Northern Scotland. With fast and vigorous growth, it reaches 15 - 20m (50 - 60ft) before slowing, to a maximum height of around 30m (100ft), making it ideal for large parks, gardens, woodland and open ground.

This hardy and evergreen tree copes well in exposed areas and is suitable for a variety of soil types, either in full sun or partial shade. Its thickly packed branches are covered with blue-green needles and its flowers produce cones once pollinated, that mature the following year.

Yew (Taxus baccata)

An evergreen, UK native conifer, the Yew tree is common around Britain, but particularly in the South. Famed for being long-living, the tough and hardy Yew can grow well on almost any soil, but won’t stand soil that’s overly wet for long periods. It can grow to 20m (65ft) in sheltered areas with either full sun or partial shade.

Due to its thick needle-like leaf coverage, it will cast heavy shadow, affecting the growth of other plants around it. Because of this, it’s often used as fast-growing and easily maintained hedging plant. After flowering in spring, the familiar red berries appear in autumn, rather than cones like other conifers. They’re a good food source for many birds, except for the seeds which are toxic to them as well as humans.

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