Juniper Level Botanic Garden (JLBG), established in 1988 by plantsman Tony Avent, nurtures a two-fold global mission.
First, the garden actively promotes and preserves botanic diversity by bridging the gap between botany and horticulture through plant study, identification, educational outreach, global plant exploration, and by selecting, breeding, and propagating new and little known perennials to share with plant researchers, botanic gardens, and gardeners around the world.
Additionally, JLBG is a serene venue for noticing and exploring the impersonal nature of presence and perception using the pointers offered within the nondual perennial wisdom teachings. Anita Avent challenges the widely held notion of existing as a personal self through time and space. This belief, of existing as a personal self, as popular as this belief may be, is the source of human suffering. Anita facilitates self inquiry groups and retreats pointing towards the fleeting nature of appearances.
JLBG's aim is to be the most unique botanic garden in the world. In the quest for new plants, JLBG has initiated over 80 botanical expeditions and sponsored many more, both domestic and international, since 1994. JLBG also works closely with the top plant explorers and breeders around the world to grow and evaluate the best in new ornamental plants. Few, if any, plant nurseries or botanic gardens can match the diversity of the JLBG plant collections, which currently numbers over 22,000 taxa, of which many have original provenance data.
The 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 plantsfrom 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. Plants are obtained though plant exploration, plant breeding, as well as exchange and purchase from others.
The philosophy includes aesthetic plant placement using colors, textures, and forms to accent each plants' best characteristics. It also includes proper plant spacing to eliminate routine pruning, proper organic soil preparation, adequate irrigation to eliminate plants stresses, and providing efficient and sustainable garden maintenance through good design principles.
A key component of the JLBG philosophy is to make all good plants widely available, especially those which may be rare or extinct in their natural habitat. Realizing that climate has and will continue to change, in-situ or habitat conservation is the least 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. Those who wring their hands over genetic purity need only to examine the human race to see the wonder and strength that comes from genetic mixing.
Cornerstones of the JLGB garden philosophy are:
- being mindful in the garden,
- using compost along with careful monitoring of soil nutrition,
- using organic soil nutrition,
- avoiding chemical sprays on plants in the gardens,
- allowing plants to grow in their natural form without shearing,
- planting the right plant in the right place, and
- having fun in the garden.