We are making a difference

Our mission

We believe plants belong to humankind, not to countries, governments, bureaucrats, or academic elitists. That’s why our ex-situ plant conservation goal is to actively promote and preserve botanic diversity by sharing plants with gardeners around the world.

Collect, study, preserve, propagate, and share plants for a better world

Juniper Level Botanic Garden (JLBG), established in 1986 by plantsman Tony Avent, actively promotes and preserves botanic diversity by sharing rare and endangered genera. We believe plants belong to humankind, not to countries, governments, bureaucrats, or academic elitists. Plants can be easily propagated, so they cannot be equated to minerals or even animals.

Our goal is to conduct non-invasive worldwide collection of plant samples, study and identification, followed by selection, garden evaluation, breeding, and eventually propagation and sharing of those with desirable traits. The rarer a plant is, the more important it is to be propagated and shared with plant researchers, botanic gardens, and gardeners around the world.

Garden philosophy

Our garden philosophy is to promote botanical diversity by assembling the largest collection possible of growable, winter/summer hardy ornamental plants for our region and display them in an aesthetic, sustainably maintained, healthy garden setting. This philosophy includes obtaining plants from all over the world with a strong emphasis on North American native plants, realizing that these are, as a group, no more or less adaptable than plants from foreign lands. 

Our philosophy includes aesthetic plant placement using colors, textures, and forms to accent each plant’s best characteristics. It also includes proper plant spacing to eliminate routine pruning, proper organic soil preparation, and adequate irrigation to eliminate plant stress. By providing efficient, sustainable garden maintenance and sound design principles our collections prosper.

Gardening principles

using compost along with careful monitoring of soil nutrition
using organic soil nutrition, putting a priority on microbial health
reducing plant stresses by providing the proper moisture
minimizing chemical sprays on plants in the gardens to promote pollinator activity
maximizing horticultural diversity
allowing plants to grow in their natural form without shearing
planting the right plant in the right place
having fun in the garden and promoting creativity
Seed grown trillium from our outdoor production
Seed grown trillium from our outdoor production

Sharing the plants

A key component of the JLBG philosophy is to make all garden-worthy plants widely available, especially those which may be rare or extinct in their natural habitat. We realize that climate has and will continue to change, in-situ or habitat conservation cannot be considered the only reliable long-term method for preserving rare plants.

Through ex-situ conservation, which spreads rare plants around the world, these plants are far more likely to survive as the climate continues to change and human-induced pressures limit the space available for natural communities.

Sharing the knowledge

A key part of our mission is education. We’ve probably killed more different plants than anyone currently alive, but with each failed attempt we learned something new. Between that and our successes, we have a lot of knowledge and experience to share, and are passionate to do so. Sadly, much of the gardening information on-line is simply incorrect, and continues to get repeated ad nauseum without ever being vetted for accuracy. Think of us as the horticultural Snopes for plant myths.

Tour group during Winter Open House

Organizations we recommend

JLBG is a proud member of the many horticultural organizations.

American Public Gardens Association (APGA)
Perennial Plant Association (PPA)
North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS)
International Plant Propagators’ Society (IPPS)
American Conifer Society (ACS)
International Dendrology Society (IDS)
Hardy Plant Society  (HPS)
Hardy Fern Foundation (HFF)
American Fern Society (AFS)
North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association (NCNLA)
American Hort (AmHort)
American Horticulture Society (AHS)
Cactus and Succulent Society of America (CSSA)
International Aroid Society (IAS)
Magnolia Society International (MSI)
Gardeners of America (GOA)
Pacific Bulb Society (PBS)
American Hosta Society (AHS)
International Palm Society (IPS)
Southeast Palm Society (SPS)

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