The Juniper Project

Berry goodness

Juniper berry goodness

Now I’m not going to teach you all about Juniper…if you’re here you probably already know that it’s the main flavour gin and that it has a long history of being used as the base for many different potions and medicinal remedy’s. But, did you know it used to grow abundantly in the UK?  Juniper is actually one of only three native British conifers? The others are the yew and the scots pine. Also, it was one of the first trees to colonise Britain after the last Ice Age!

So what happened?

Why don’t we see this traditional british plant growing in abundance in the UK? Why have the Forestry Commission identified it as a species for conservation concern? Back in 2010 it was discovered that disease was one of the major contributing factors along with over grazing and urbanisation. Excessive grazing prevents seedling development, whereas loss of grazing leads to development of tough scrub and tree cover. This in turn causes shade that slowly kills the plants.

Since then different organisations have been working to replant Juniper bushes around the UK in the hope of rejuvenating the declining population. For example, wild flower conservation charity Plantlife planted 300 juniper seedlings at nine sites where existing juniper bushes were old and incapable of reproducing and had had some initial success but it’s still under threat.

So, why are we talking about Juniper now?

Well it just so happens I came by a small piece of land a few weeks back. When we say small we mean small! It’s actually part of an allotment that isn’t being used. Straight away we knew what we wanted to do! Plant Juniper and try and do our bit to replenish our more favourite plant!

Now let’s set the record straight…I know nothing about plants. I’ve managed to kill in my time, a bonsai tree, Catus, some tomato plants, a load of different herbs & many many more. Some might say I’m a plant serial killer!!

Now I know that my little plot of juniper isnt going to change the world. Im not going to plant it and instantly get a crop of lovely plump juniper berries. It takes years fo the plants to develop & produce berries. But I like to think that my little patch might inspire some of you to do the same or a small bird might pick up one of the seeds from the plant and deposit them in another place where they can flourish on their own.

Over the next few months we are going to be getting the plot ready, buying our plants & planting! Keep an eye on our Instagram, Facebook & here to keep up with our progress!!