One group of conifers that visitors always marvel at are those that produce blue cones. These are the female cones of Abies and I have to admit that they are something I had not seen before coming to work at Rosemoor. The first time I saw Abies veitchii in full ‘cone’, I was somewhat taken aback!
Like many people, I had always regarded conifers as being rather boring, green all year and only good as a screen, but on looking more closely I continue to discover the variety of shape, form and colour of both foliage and cones.
Not all Abies produce blue cones, but apart from Abies veitchii, from Japan, we have Abies fargesii (China) and Abies spectabilis (Himalaya) that are adorned with blue-purple cones. These are found in the appropriate ‘country’ in the Bicentenary Arboretum where we have grouped trees according to their country of origin.
So next time you visit, take the time to explore the Bicentenary Arboretum and see how many different forms and colour of cones you can spot.
For conifer enthusiasts, the RHS has produced a specialist publication, The RHS Encyclopedia of Conifers.