Posted: 05/11/2012 at 21:12
Thanks all : The planters are against the house, and the property being an old Victorian post office / shop means the planters are on the pavement. So whilst the wind does come from the north / north west, there are houses opposite to prevent any really hard winds and the hse provides shelter too. In fact being near the coast, the harsher weather blows in from the coast onto the back of the house.
The die back isn't at the rear of the plants necessarily, so it's not a matter of not 'turning them'.
Re the question on the dying off: The box are kept watered. Typically we see the leaves going off (dark first then patches of brown) and then whole swathes of the tree turns brown. Often 1 plant only (but not always the same side of the door way.)
The Christmas trees lasted 3 - 4 months then started loosing their needles : however a season in the rear (south facing) has seen them bounce back with vigour (the Fuschia trees were pridictably a disaster - though beautiful for a month ! ! ).
Did consider wooden pyramid trellis sitting on the planters, though thought with the painted wooden boxed pillars behind them (part of the house) it might look too 'structural'.
We have wooden window boxes either side of the house and the plants within thrive.
Someone I spoke to suggested an artificial Rosemary Spiral would be more realistic than say Box or Bay - but being so close to the pavement - people can easily inspect (and see it for what it is - even at £150 each ! )
Many thanks for the ongoing advice - greatly appreciated.