Plantswoman FIONA EDMOND, owns the award-winning Green Island Gardens in Ardleigh.

Today she talks about conifers and evergreens.

I once designed a garden for a client who had a moat around her house.

I planted 3 Taxodium distichum, or swamp cypress to make a feature, however in November that year I received a phone call from the client in a panic telling me that her trees had died. I had to explain that although they were conifers, these ones actually drop their needles in the Autumn after colouring orange-red!

Most of us think of trees as being deciduous or evergreen, and assume that conifers are evergreen which in most cases is true. However there are about 20 species of conifers, which actually lose their needles in the autumn. Most of them belong to the larch family. Larix Europaeus or the European larch is one of the most common.

It makes a beautiful specimen with its bright green needles and small pink flowers on the bare branches that eventually develop into cones.

Taxodium distichum makes a statuesque tree. In the wild it grows in mangrove swamps, however it will grow quite happily in a non-water logged site. Its fine feathery needles are a lovely bright green colour all year before turning orange and finally red before falling in November.

In gardens it can reach up to 30 metres so needs a large site.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides or the Dawn Redwood is native to China and endangered in the wild due to deforestation.

It has been widely planted in arboretum where it grows quickly reaching up to 30 metres. It has very fine needles that turn a brilliant bronze colour in autumn.

All the above trees can be seen growing at Green Island Gardens. For further information, visit