Every Blooming thing: Appreciate the Juniper – work horse of plants
By Colette Bauer
For Tri-County Newspapers
The Juniper is the kind of plant that my husband would refer to as pedestrian.
Many others think of it as common or plain, or even uninspiring. I, on the other hand, think of the Juniper as the work horse of the plant world. It can survive in almost any conditions — not only of weather, but also of soil condition and lack of a regular water source. What more can you ask of a plant?
In addition to all these positive attributes, the Juniper comes in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and colors. You can find Prostrate Junipers, Weeping Junipers, Columnar Junipers and Juniper Shrubs, not to mention Juniper Trees. They can be found in many different colors including green, blue, silver, gray and yellow. In winter, some varieties even turn orange or plum.
In height, the Juniper can be as short as 4 inches or as tall as 60 feet, and can grow virtually anywhere.
In Central Oregon, where I lived for 10 years, the Juniper tree is very common, and I came to appreciate its uses. It was used for landscaping, firewood and even rustic furniture.
The Juniper is a conifer, but instead of producing the cones we are used to seeing on conifers, they develop a berry-like fruit. The foliage of a Juniper is made up of small prickly needles. An important recommendation is to wear heavy gloves when dealing with your Juniper.
Prostrate Juniper: Advantages of growing Prostrate Junipers are that they aid the gardener in weed control and provide colorful ground cover, while taking very little care. Most of these Prostrate Junipers help turn unsightly areas into lovely green garden sites. There are 28 different varieties of Prostrate Junipers listed in The New Sunset Western Garden Book. These plants can be from 4 inches to 3 feet in height and have a width of between 3 feet and 10 feet.
Shrub Juniper: There are about 20 different Shrub Junipers. These run in height from 2 feet to 20 feet and can be from f4 feet to 30 feet in width. They help give definition to landscaping and fill in empty spots.
Columnar Junipers: These shrubs are narrow, upright and work well where your landscape needs these vertical lines. There are about 20 types of Columnar Junipers ranging in height from 2 feet to 30 feet and a width of from 6inches to 8 feet.
Juniper Trees: The trees range from 10 to 50 feet in height and widths are from 10 to 60 feet. The Western Juniper is the most common in this area. As you can see Junipers come in a vast number of shapes, sizes, forms, and colors. They work perfectly as fillers for almost any landscape.
I'm now going in search of three Prostrate Junipers: the Mother Lode, which turns bronze in the winter, the Prince of Walesm it becomes purplish in the fall, and the Plumosa, which turns plum color in the winter.
Enjoy your gardening and don't forget to include the pedestrian Juniper in your garden plans.
The next Red Bluff Garden Club meeting is at 1 p.m. on Jan. 29, at 12889 Baker Road in Red Bluff.
Colette Bauer is a member of the Red Bluff Garden Club, which is affiliated with The Cascade District Garden Club; California Garden Clubs, Inc.; Pacific Region Garden Clubs and National Garden Clubs, Inc.