Part of my excitement, as I reach the final segment in my series on the Thriller, Filler and Spiller technique of garden design, is that I will be able to put these ideas into actual practice very soon! If you have been following my blog for some time, you’ll remember that I came to a place in my life when I needed to leave my garden of many years. The good news is that I have found a new place to make a garden, and if all goes well, I should hope to remain here, developing this new garden for many, many years. I will begin with a nearly clean slate of just a few existing plants and small trees, so I am very excited to start the planning and planting of this new space.
Today, I will remain focused on concluding my current series of garden design posts with some of my favorite coniferous Spillers (which actually make wonderful fillers, just in a lower profile than the filler plants discussed earlier). Spiller conifers are available in as many colors and textures as all of the plants I have discussed over the years but they have the genetic propensity to sprawl along the ground, without the strength to grow on their own with upward growth. If one were so inclined, one might choose to train any of these Spiller plants on a stake or other framework to gain height and then allow the plant to fall and spill in its natural state.
The first of today’s Spillers, as seen in the top photo above, if it were not for initially being trained on a bamboo stake, would be nearly prostrate upon the ground. That small stake allowed the plant to attain some height and after a few years the wood became hard and strong enough to support itself. Once its height was attained and the plant was left to its own nature, its branches all turned and fell to the ground where they slowly spread, covering open space and falling among and over rocks. There are several different cultivars of Norway Spruce with this characteristic, but Picea abies ‘Formanek‘ is unique in being somewhat slower in its growth rate than many others, filling in its space without being overbearing.
Juniperus conferta ‘Silver Mist’ will spill and sprawl along the ground and over slopes to cover space and help prevent erosion while adding dazzling silvery blue-green color to the garden. Its coarse textured foliage spreads slowly while adding color and movement to the garden.
When I am looking for a stunning blast of year-round color to flow around larger plants with dark green, blue or red foliage, nothing makes a statement like Juniperus conferta ‘All Gold’.
I love being able to add the same blue color, that some of my larger trees provide, on a lower plane in the garden. Picea pungens ‘Procumbens’ is a low, spreading form of the Colorado Blue Spruce and it looks fantastic as it provides a bright blue boarder between other colorful conifers and awesome garden plants. Once in a while ‘Procumbens’ may try to throw an upward growing branch, but it is easily pruned away to encourage the spreading form I desire.
These past few months I have imagined plenty of ideas and inspiration to begin to create a new garden which will primarily feature dwarf, colorful, unique conifers, Garden Maples and other exciting plants. I am looking forward to getting started in my new space – I do hope that you have been inspired too!