SDG’s Festival Action – BHS Tree Planting

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

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By Mrs Sarah Barrett (UK), Honorary Member of the BHS SDG Committee

Dear BHS tree planters,

My tree: Juniperus communis, or common Juniper (family Cuppressaceae) : a small to medium sized evergreen shrub or tree, native to the northern hemisphere.


I’ve chosen to add Juniper trees to my own ‘wild’ botanical garden for a number of reasons. Junipers grow in many parts of the world, including some species in Lebanon. Juniperus communis is not as common here as it once was, but it is one of only 3 conifers that are indigenous to the UK and so it’s well suited to support our bird and insect populations, providing shelter, habitat, and food; certain moths and birds particularly like it. It is also drought tolerant and I hope that means it will be able to cope with the summer droughts we often have here, in East Anglia. Common Juniper is dioecious, meaning that male and female structures grow on separate trees; I am planting 4 saplings, in the hope that there’ll be both sexes and in time, we’ll see some berries for the birds.

Juniper’s most famous use to humans is that it flavours gin, but it can also be used in cooking, aromatherapy, for perfume and as a medicine for respiratory and digestive complaints. You may also like to know that years ago, in some cultures it was thought that Junipers helped to keep evil spirits away and that dreaming of gathering Juniper berries was a sure sign of forthcoming prosperity!

I also have a little granddaughter whose name is Juniper, so it feels like just the right tree for me to plant!

Happy tree planting everyone!


With very best wishes,

Sarah Barrett (Suffolk, England, UK)


My baby Juniper trees. They’ve already put on loads of growth.
Strawberries flowering now so next job is to protect them so the birds don’t eat them all before us!
Broad beans beginning to flower.
My wild garden at the end of ‘No Now May’. I’m embracing the shaggy look and never cease to be amazed by how many species appear when they’re given a chance….nature is amazing!