The Buzz

Conifers: They're not just for Christmas...

This is the time of year when it seems that evergreens are everywhere you turn, with Christmas tree stands popping up in parking lots, decorations in and on retail establishments, and, maybe, (if you are way ahead of me) lovely holiday greenery decking your halls. Evergreen trees, wreaths, and garland have been used by many cultures since ancient times to represent eternal life, and it is no wonder that they are so symbolic. As the vibrant colors of autumn fade into winter, evergreens give us something bright to remind us that nature is alive and well.


If you need a reminder, a break from the hectic holiday hubbub, come by the Garden and spend some time rambling through our Conifer Garden. This somewhat secluded area is often overlooked, although the American Conifer Society recognizes it as one of only four Conifer Reference Collections in Tennessee. (See Reference Gardens at:

You can access the original Conifer Garden (a.k.a. "Conifer Corner") through the Rose Garden; look for the mailbox with conifer information inside.

More interesting evergreens can be enjoyed in the area of My Big Backyard that is adjacent to Conifer Corner. The most popular tree in our collection is the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, one of the largest in the nation, which will be decked in lights for our Snowy Nights holiday display.

The Conifer Garden was established in 1981, with significant updates in 2002. And, while the most noticeable concentration of evergreens is located in the afore-mentioned area, the designated Conifer Collection actually includes specimens throughout the Garden's 96 acres. These year-round beauties are groomed, labeled and mapped by a diligent team of volunteers led by Laurie Williams, so that we maintain the requirements to be certified as a reference collection. The collection serves as an educational resource for both professionals and home gardeners living in the area, where even a novice can compare the attributes (size, shape, color, and durability) of a wide variety of conifers that like living in the Southeast.

So, while, you may not be able to take home bundles of boughs for your holiday decor, a trip to the Conifer Garden has its benefits. Take a seat on the swing and breathe in the fragrance of the fresh air. Find a quiet nook underneath the branches of the stately evergreen canopy and imagine you're in a make-believe fairy forest. Feel nature alive...and exhale.


Posted by Jana Wilson at 4:07 PM


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