Why is it called Juniper Grove? SOOOO many reasons. Let me tell you...
First and foremost it’s about a song called Jennifer Juniper by Donovan. A song from the 60s that Dad used to sing and play for me when I was little (and no, I wasn’t quite born in the 60s - but close!). It’s a beautiful beautiful little song and just makes me think very fondly of Dad. He passed not long before I closed on the house, so he was on my mind when I got up here and I think every day about how much he would love this place - and how much help he would have been :). It feels really nice to honor him with this reference.
Once I came up with the name, I started researching juniper. What does it mean? What does it stand for? And let me tell you - the juniper tree has much to offer. I’m still learning! This plant has been around forever - some say over 12,000 years. It is strong, it is hardy, it is a survivor. And the healing properties! They are countless and I can tell you that every culture - be it Native American, Tibetan, Ayurvedic, Egyptian, European or Traditional Chinese Medicine - that has lived in proximity with the juniper, has used it for medicine. It is known for its purifying properties and for being a protector. How fitting to be used in a name for a healing retreat space.
And ‘juniper’ is just a cool word and so fun to say. So yea, Juniper Grove.
The only problem, we didn’t have any juniper trees. The idea was to plant some because they are native to this area. But the longer I lived here and the more I learned about the abundance of the plants and trees that are on the property, the less inclined I was to add something new. But how could we be called ‘Juniper Grove’ and not have any juniper?? There are plenty of witch hazel and plenty of silver birch and plenty of sugar maple. Those are all beautiful trees and full of beautiful words, but I couldn’t puzzle them into any type of name that resonated with me.
So we kept it Juniper Grove. And the idea was ok, we are just starting out and if we come up with a better name further on - we will change it. Not an ideal marketing strategy, but we needed to keep moving.
And then the night we were going live with our website, Ariel was out on the front porch making some final adjustments and our neighbor Daniel came by. Let me tell you that Daniel was the caretaker on this property for 10 years and he is a homesteader. This man knows things that us city folk do not know - especially about this property. Ariel shared the website with him and Daniel LOVED the name. ‘Juniper Grove! Great name! Especially given the juniper you have.’ Ariel was like, ‘What are you talking about? We don’t have any juniper. It’s because of Jenny’s dad and this old song.’ Daniel proceeded to walk Ariel out back by the pond and show him a grove of juniper trees!! A fucking grove! Of juniper trees! Like JUNIPER GROVE!! Like WHOA!!
Not sure how we missed them, but in our defense, they are not very showy and just kind of doing their thing quietly and strongly back there. Later when I got home, and Ariel walked me out back - he gestured up toward the tree and before he said anything I saw the tell-tale juniper berries and burst into tears. Juniper was here all along.
Which actually goes quite well with the story of a reiki intuitive I saw in New Mexico during the time we were waiting to close on the house. I was cautiously excited, but since we hadn’t closed, I couldn’t quite call the place my own. But she was optimistic that things would work out and she knew that this place had been here - waiting for us to come along. I’d like to think she was right.