Juniper is both one of the most versatile plants that I use in my designs, and the one that is the most difficult for me to sell to clients. Clients tend to think of juniper as the overused, ugly, prickly plant that they would prefer not to have. I think of it as a tough plant that can be beautiful if sited correctly, and rely on it to solve problems from poor soil to full sun, while being deer resistant and evergreen. Read on to learn about some of my favorite junipers and how they can work in your garden.
Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’ – Japanese Garden Juniper
(Japanese Garden Juniper cascading over a stone wall)
Japanese Garden Juniper is without a doubt one of my favorite junipers. A low growing variety, it reaches nine feet across with only a few inches of height. I like to use this juniper to edge large beds, and find it especially attractive when allowed to cascade over stone.
Juniperus ‘Saybrook Gold’ – Saybrook Gold Juniper
(My favorite gold juniper in a Fine Gardening article June/July 2013)
Let me start by saying that the secret to using any gold plant is moderation! Yellow is the color that I am most frequently asked to avoid by clients – and I get it – gold/yellow can be garish, and it can make a plant look sick. But, it can also add brightness and interest to a planting combination. In the photo above you can see how it repeats the yellow center in the daylilies and the coreopsis.
Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ – Grey Owl Juniper
(A mass planting of Grey Owl Juniper)
I don’t exclusively use native plants in my landscape designs, but I do like to incorporate them as much as possible, and Grey Owl Juniper is one that I frequently use. A mid sized juniper – reaching 3-4′ in height and 5-6′ wide, Grey Owl has a blue color, arching form, and very fine texture. These characteristics make it a great plant to pair with broad leafed evergreens – consider a planting in front of Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Cherry Laurel) for a native plant combination.
As with any plant, the secret to using and appreciating juniper is selecting the right plant for the right place. Interested in adding juniper or other plants to your garden? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-475-1015 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!