A Gardening Journal

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Gold Cone Juniper, Standing Tall through the Blizzard

Juniperus communis Gold Cone 012715 from library 640


 One definition of happiness during any blizzard? The wind and snow hasn't gotten the best of either the generator or the columnar shrubs. I have just one generator, but many plants whose tall-and-narrow profile is their biggest talent.


I've written before on how easy and essential it is to spiral-tie the shrub with twine. Do this once a year, with any slender twine made from natural fibers (jute, cotton, sisal, linen, hemp, whatever), so that last year's twine has just about rotted away by the time (mid- to late Summer) you get around to wrapping the shrub with this year's. I use sisal twine simply because it comes in big 550-foot rolls that, even so, are just a couple of bucks.  


 Juniperus communis Gold Cone upper 012615 640


Even if the snow is wet and heavy, and the storm brings down a couple of feet of it, a twined shrub usually stands tall. Columnar forms of some shrubs, such as box, euonymus, and Japanese holly in particular, also need a permanent central stake—a spine, as it were—in addition to the twining. Stake once (I use rebar), twine annually.


 Juniperus communis Gold Cone 012615 twining detail 640


Wrap twine around the shrub starting at the bottom. Spiral up to the top and then back down to the ground. This ensures that the twine holds in all the shrub's side branches every foot or so, and also creates a tidy and reassuring criss-cross. When you look outside even at the height of the blizzard, you can still see how well you've laced the plant up. It's all set for the entire season—unlike the generator, which needs daily refilling. I will have to trudge out through two feet of snow, gas can in hand. But not with scissors and twine, too.


Here's how to grow 'Gold Cone' juniper.

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