March 23, 2016

Juniper Madness

There is a sickness in my town.
I daresay, even an epidemic.
"Juniper Madness," I believe is the official term.
Sort of like Mad Cow Disease, but without the cows...or the prions.
Okay, actually not like that at all.
Just people crazy about junipers for no explainable reason!

[Don't get too close! They cause a skin reaction in many people.]

It spreads very quietly, starting at one house, then two.
Before you know it the entire street is covered in juniper bushes!
You can scarcely see the houses anymore!
The sidewalks become nearly impassible!
Run for your LIVES!

[Every photo was taken within a 5-minute walk of my house.]

Phew! Glad I got that out of my system.
Now I can [probably] talk calmly and sensibly about this mysterious illness.

No-one really knows how it started, really.
Was there a stupendous sale going on 20 years ago?
Or perhaps the builders all got together and said, "Look, guys. We gots to do the junipers, man. You stick 'em in the ground and dat's it, man."

Whatever it was, sale or groupthink or brain-altering prion (wait--no), my town is covered in junipers. Blanketed...if the blanket was itchy and full of spiders.
Approximately every other house sports an unsightly hedge of them.
(I was going to say "healthy" but that would just be misleading, wouldn't it?)

[Is there a house behind those shrubs?]
[There could be anything behind those shrubs!]
[Good point.]

Of all the manifestations of this disease around, there is one that tops them all.
Literally just down the street from where I live is a very large church.
(By the way, I have nothing against the good folks that belong to that church.)
Even after 5 years, I continue to be amazed and confused at their landscaping choices.

[Before I knew the real name, I mentally referred to them as "The Juniper Church."]

It's tier upon tier of nothing but junipers, separating various levels of parking lot.
Apparently, all planted on purpose.
I really can't fathom it.

We narrowly escaped the disease ourselves.
When we first bought our house, here's what our front "yard" looked like:

[They didn't stop in front, either--they went ALL the way around the side.]

So, funny story.
We were supposed to take possession of the house on a Friday, but when we showed up, the previous owners weren't quite out yet.
No big deal, really.
They wanted to show us around before they left.
They were the original owners and built the house 25 years ago, so that's cool.
Great! Show us around (while we tried to gently shoo them out.)

They were all but ready to pull out of the driveway, when the wife suddenly jumped up and said, "Oh, those juniper bushes are getting into the driveway! I meant to trim them back, but never got around it. Here, I'll just do it really fast." She then ran and got some hedge trimmers and began clipping branches industriously. My husband and I just looked at each other, with one of those couple mind-reading moments.

As they (finally!) pulled away, we said it--
"We'll take care of those. Don't worry." 
"We're going to get a backhoe in here....and I can guarantee there will not be any junipers bushes in the driveway EVER AGAIN!"

Maybe you had to be there.
It was pretty funny at the time.

[Approximately 2 months later.]
[This was a good day.]

Because I can't bear to leave you with that image in your mind, here's what our front yard looks like now:

[Please note: nary a juniper to be seen.]

There is a chance that juniper bushes would be able to withstand the rigors of our Back Slope--aka "The Hill of Death." However, that is a chance that I am just not willing to take.
To spend actual money on a juniper bush?
I think prions would have to infect my brain first.

* * * * *
All right, all you juniper lovers!
(I know you're out there. I mean--obviously!--judging by these pictures.)
I'm willing to concede the possibility that I'm missing some vital component of juniper understanding.
Please! Enlighten me!


  1. Juniper bushes are evil in every way and I don't understand why they were so popular a landscaping choice then! This in not the only Washington town that seems to have an infestation.

    1. I don't get it either! If they were pretty, that would be one thing. All I can come up with is that they must have been cheap.

  2. Juniper bushes are evil in every way and I don't understand why they were so popular a landscaping choice then! This in not the only Washington town that seems to have an infestation.

  3. I have an aversion to juniper bushes too...[shudder]

    I remember when the church you mentioned had a big planting day and planted all of those juniper bushes. Joseph and Grant were little tykes back then! The bushes grew a lot bigger and faster than my boys did, that's for sure!

    Your front yard is looking great! The flowers are so pretty.

    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one! That's great that you remember the actual planting day for all those junipers down at the church. They seem timeless. :)

      Thanks for coming on by!