Juniper trees are attractive ornamental plants that produce taste berries – a Juniper’s berries have been used in pork and venison dishes for many centuries – and the seeds are also popular with wildlife. Junipers are often used successfully in England in landscaping, where they have been used as accent trees.
Junipers in Landscapes
A commonly seen landscaping feature of English ornamental gardens is juniper companion planting, where the Juniper tree is planted in arrangements involving conifers and one or more of the ‘semi-prostrate’ juniper bushes such as Juniperus X media. These can appear in box gardens, and in fact Juniper trees and bushes can be the box hedges in knot gardens and similar.
While some might choose to replicate this simple and easy piece of landscaping, other gardeners have chosen to plant a small Juniper with heathers and alpines, or by encouraging a larger Juniper to grow upright, and then placing small flowers around the base of the tree.
Contemporary landscapes, that emphasise minimalistic planting schemes, and a formal design, can use a ground-hugging Juniper tree such as the Green mound Juniper. Placed alongside succulents, the Juniper provides an eye-catching accent to a garden.
Junipers can be used in formal gardens, which require a lot of landscaping, as they are not pretending to be ‘natural’ or ‘wild’ trees; but will instead accent trellis, walls, or patio lay-outs. They can also prevent the chaotic gardening of some smaller areas, Junipers such as the Pyramidalis”, which are large and breathtaking, can be used as accent trees around which a formal garden is created.
As noted above, Junipers are most commonly used with other plants to make a formal landscape, although Juniper can be used as an accent tree in the middle of a small lawn, or used around the edge of a path to delineate the garden. Use upright Junipers to add punctuation to a garden; for example the Skyrocket Juniper is a breathtakingly large tree, as is the hibernica – which resembles more a conifer than the low-branched ground-huggers. These uprights have a very powerful affect upon the scenery, and should not be ‘dotted’ about in gardens as the bushy Junipers can be; instead, they should be use to direct the attention to a certain feature, for example a pond or a particularly striking flower.
Junipers can also be used in accent tree groups, particularly in containers – blue star junipers, with their striking foliage, show off the area around them, and also cause the eye to linger appreciatively over the pleasant leaves – putting them near blue flowers, berries or foliage compliments both.
Junipers also go well with bamboos. In gardens using juniper companion planting, the bamboo mix well with these – although the bamboos’ tendency to take over any spare piece of soil, and some that aren’t spare, should be borne in mind. A dwarf bamboo, however, makes a pleasant companion to the juniper; placing the former amidst a group of tall junipers, for example, can provide a pleasing contrast, while ground-hugging Junipers and dwarf bamboo provide a seamless combination.