A Golden Native

Here’s a photo this week of one of our favorite North American native plants, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Copper Harbor’. This would certainly add significant year round color interest to any native plant garden. In our trials, this is far and away the best of the golden Juniperus horizontalis cultivars. We offered this selection for a couple of years, but there seemed to be little interest.

Juniperus horizontalis 'Copper Harbor'
Juniperus horizontalis ‘Copper Harbor’

10 thoughts on “A Golden Native”

  1. I would buy 8 or so well developed plants today if they were available. Perhaps you should try offering them again.
    Is there a filter on the camera lens or just a dark day?

  2. Beautiful ground cover! Is it truly Zone 7b?
    I don’t recall ever seeing it either on your plant pages nor in situ at PD. Having used J. Mother Lode unsuccessfully because it’s just too slow, I would like to know more about Copper Harbor.

  3. Have there been any analyses on this plant on how native animals use the foliage? A number of studies show that “off-colour” cultivars by-and-large are not used by co-evolved insect life…and isn’t prioritizing the support of the animals in the ecology by the native plants the main point of planting native plants? I am not a purist by any means, but how the rest of the world uses the plants we plant is a very important part of ecological resilience in my mind. Also buying open pollinated plants instead of cultivars that are all clones and reduce defense against disease and climate change is important to me. Most of the golden cultivars I have worked with in the last 40 years have been far more sensitive to heat as well (sitting in Canada in humidex 42C (107F). I think our plant choices need to be carefully guided by what the science (and climate outside) is telling us. I have followed and admired your work for decades, so please don’t see this as an attack, but a genuine attempt to understand your perspective as a grower whose livelihood depends on growing plants. I imagine reconciling all the issues is very challenging. Thank you.

    1. Great question!

      There are indeed some hybrids, whose flower color or lack of an eye do not attract insects, but these are a miniscule fraction of the cultivars on the market, the overwhelming majority of which are just as desirable to pollinators as any “natural” open pollinated plant. Many people claim that the use of open pollinated plants is advantageous over clones in terms of disease/insect resistance, but in most cases, this is a moot point. Think Dogwood anthracnose, Dogwood blight, Emerald Ash Borer, Dutch Elm Disease, Hemlock wooly adelgid, etc. It didn’t matter in any of these cases that they plants were wild/open pollinated. In fact, there are many documented cases where the opposite is true…clonally resistant cultivars that are the saviors of many of these species, and allow them to once again be used in our gardens.

      As a species, Homo sapiens constantly interfere with Darwinism…be that with ornamental cultivars or our own species. Does that mean we should now eliminate any clone (plant or animal) that would not survive in the wild on its’ own without human intervention? All pets would need to go, as would at least half of the worlds human population, and certainly all cultivated food crops. Currently, that train of thought is only politically correct if your talking about non-native ornamental plants. We are now constantly berated that selecting a plant for it’s desirable appearance is wrong, but isn’t this how most humans select our mates as well as vegetables/fruits for consumption? Hmmmm.

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