Yes, I’m starting the new year with a rant, right out of the gate! It’s about some old junipers I saw recently that have been sheared into sheer ugliness.
Another view from the sidewalk.

I wish everyone could see what old junipers could look like, if planted in the right places and pruned correctly.  (Just say no to shearing!)

Here’s a very old photo of some junipers in front of my co-op’s office building, junipers that were planted too close to the entrance sidewalk and after getting even larger than they are here, were sheared to ugliness at their most prominent spot – just outside the front door. They looked just like the top photo here, only larger.

I asked rant readers what should be done with the old junipers, with most commenters recommending they all be removed. Instead, we removed just the ones too close to the sidewalk, and here’s what visitors now see as they leave via the front door – lots of black-eyed Susans (Maryland’s state flower), three ‘Ogon’ spirea, a Ninebark shrub, lots of Sedum groundcover, and the beginning of the juniper hedge.I then removed about half the branches of the remaining junipers – the dead ones crowding the center – and look how they shaped up!  I explained this type of pruning in this post.

The rest of them. 

While working on this (my adopted) garden I’ve often heard compliments about the formerly sad-looking old conifers.  And because they look great all winter, I think I’ll snap a photo of them for Marianne’s #whywintergarden challenge!