Plant of the Week: MONTANA MOSS® Juniper

Did you have a big trip planned for 2020? Me too. We were supposed to go to Italy. That obviously didn’t work out. That’s OK. My family and I have been fortunate enough to go on some pretty fun vacations, and have enjoyed talking about them during this strange year.

One really fun one was our trip to Glacier National Park in Montana. It’s good that I like Big Sky country because Montana is big. Really big. With lots of sky. And some really crazy weather, too. We’re no strangers to extreme weather here in West Michigan, but cede the weather drama title to Montana.

That tough climate was what inspired the name of this juniper: Montana Moss®. It’s a durable plant that can take whatever the elements dish out.

Hardy to USDA Zone 4-9, it will grow in most of North America, including a lot of Montana. Alkaline soil? Road salt? Maybe some drought? Not a problem. And it’s deer-resistant, too!

You will want to plant it in full sun and give it well-drained soil. That’s pretty typical of juniper. What’s not typical is the soft, moss-like foliage of this variety. Montana Moss® Juniperus chinensis grows 2-4′ tall and wide.

Much like your dream trip to Glacier National Park, you may have to settle for planting Montana Moss® juniper next year. It’s new and very popular, so you may not find stock at your local garden center until spring of 2021. Unlike your trip to Glacier, this plant doesn’t require a lot of logistics planning – it’s pretty easy to grow.

Staycation or vacation; plants matter!

People working from home want something nice to look out from their “office” window. Folks who are hanging around the backyard this summer are inspired to do some landscaping. Many people are making the best of a strange summer and upgrading their home, both inside and out. This has been good for plant sales, and we’re very grateful for that.

Plants are also important to tourism. Whether it’s some green space and trees around a highway rest stop or a nicely landscaped hotel, people like to see plants. They help us relax, something we all need to do.

They also benefit economies more directly. I enjoyed this article about the High Line in New York City and the impact it has on the stores and restaurants that surround it. Investment in green spaces is just that: investment. If you plant it, they will come.

Finally, I’d like to point out that you can find Black Lace® elderberry planted on the High Line. You may not be able to walk it yourself this year, but you can enjoy some of the plantings in your own space.

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