This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
This grand species is found in great abundance in high mountain-valleys in China and Japan, growing to heights of from 20 to 30 feet, and was first sent home in 1820.
In this species the male and female forms are very dissimilar, the latter being known as "flagelliformis," and was long considered a distinct species. Of the two the male plant is by far the most ornamental, and undoubtedly one of the handsomest of our hardy Conifers, making a magnificent lawn specimen-plant, and contrasting most effectively with the dark-coloured shrubs in mixed masses or rows. It has a neat conical habit of growth, closely branched from the ground upwards; the foliage is generally slightly glaucous, sometimes bright green; and occasionally branchlets of both tints appear on the same plant. It produces its bright golden catkins in great profusion in May, and is then an object of great beauty.
Like most of the other species, Juniperus Chinensis is of easy cultivation, and will succeed in almost any soil and situation, if the subsoil is sufficiently porous to prevent an undue accumulation of water at the roots.
There are two or three varieties more or less distinct from the species and well worthy the attention of collectors of fine shrubs. Of these we note the two following variegations, which, when more plentiful and better known, will doubtless be extensively planted in every collection: Argenteus, a pretty glaucous form, with a large proportion of the branchlets pure white, the variegation constant, and equally beautiful in winter as in summer, while the plant is as hardy as the parent. Aureus, one of the new plants of this year, sent out by Mr Maurice Young of the Godalming Nurseries, is one of the finest golden variegated Conifers in cultivation, the whole plant suffused with a rich golden hue, as bright as that of the Queen Golden Holly. The constancy of its variegation and the hardiness of its constitution remain of course to be tested; but there is every reason to believe that it possesses these desirable qualities, and that it will prove a valuable acquisition to the already long list of hardy ornamental Conifers.
Indigenous to the islands of the Grecian Archipelago and mountainous districts in several adjoining countries, growing to heights of from 30 to 40 feet. Introduced into Britain about 1806.
In our shrubberies and pleasure-grounds it is a very neat, somewhat slow-growing plant, with a dense conical habit of growth, the foliage very short, thickly set on the branchlets, and of a peculiar and pleasing glaucous-grey colour. It is a most effective lawn specimen-shrub, contrasting well with the more sombre-foliaged Conifers, and well worthy of extensive introduction among choice decorative plants.
It is found to succeed best where the soil is deep and rich, and requires a well-sheltered situation.
A superb variety of recent introduction appropriately named stricta, differs from the species in having a narrower conical habit, tapering up to a sharp point, with the branches more compressed, and altogether more rigid and formal in its appearance; is admirably adapted for small geometric gardens, or for terraces, and lawns of limited extent. It is equally hardy with the species, and well deserves the attention of collectors of really handsome shrubs.
This well-known and very ornamental species is found wild on the Alps, Apennines, Pyrenees, and other mountains in Southern Europe, forming a bushy shrub of from 7 to 8 feet high, and has been cultivated in British gardens for nearly 300 years.
It is here a low spreading bush, thickly branched, and abundantly clothed with tiny foliage of the darkest sombre green.
Wanting in that formal symmetry of habit so characteristic of many of its allies, and so desirable for lawn plants, it is nevertheless a very ornamental shrub, well fitted for mixed shrubberies, or for planting on or in the neighbourhood of rockeries, to which it imparts an interesting and picturesque appearance.
It should always be planted in a rich but dry soil, and in a shaded and moderately-sheltered situation.
The variety variegata differs only from the species in having the green branches interspersed with those of a pure white colour, and is a most desirable and effective plant. A dwarf trailing form, by some botanists ranked as a distinct species, and named prostrata, found wild in the United States, has a great resemblance in everything except habit to the species. It is a fine plant for rock-work, or for clothing steep banks, forming a close carpet never above a few inches high, and growing most luxuriantly when planted in some such dry and elevated situation.
Juniperus Recurva (The Weeping Juniper) from mountains in Nepal and Bhotan, at elevations of from 8,000 to 10,000 feet above the level of the sea, where it grows to heights of from 10 to 15 feet. Introduced into Britain in 1830.
The male and female forms of this species are very distinct from each other, and both are very handsome and desirable ornamental shrubs. The male, which is named densa, has long looser foliage and a much denser, dwarfer habit of growth than the female, which was first introduced, and is still known by the specific name recurva. The branches of the female droop gracefully at the extremities, and the whole plant has an elegant feathery appearance. In both forms the foliage is of dark sombre green. They are very hardy in this country if sheltered from high winds, and succeed best in a rich, stiff, loamy soil, and in a slightly-shaded situation.
Juniperus Squamata (The Scaly-Leaved Juniper) is a native of the Himalayas and Bhotan Alps, at elevations of from 8,000 to 15,000 feet; is a decumbent shrub, rarely growing higher than from 3 to 5 feet; was introduced in 1824.
It is thoroughly hardy even in the most exposed situations in this country, and one of the prettiest rockwork shrubs in cultivation. The branchlets are densely covered with short thick leaves of a slightly glaucous colour.
Juniperus tamariscifolia (the Tamarisk Juniper), a native of Spain and the mountains of Southern Europe, was introduced in 1562; has a habit of growth very similar to the preceding, rarely rising above 3 feet from the ground, and forming a close cushion-like bush, with a pretty silvery green colour. It is a beautiful rockwork plant, very distinct from any of the other dwarf species, and so hardy that there are few situations where it will not succeed. Hugh Fraser.
Leith Walk Nurseries.