When Al Drebot's juniper bushes died in his backyard

When Al Drebot's juniper bushes died in his backyard

Dead shrubs given colourful send off

l Drebot has tapped into his Dr. Seuss roots.

Last month the Chilliwack homeowner painted his manicured juniper trees a rainbow of colours.

l Drebot has tapped into his Dr. Seuss roots.

Last month the Chilliwack homeowner painted his manicured juniper trees a rainbow of colours.

His six plants, which were once a brilliant green, now boast 19 heads of blue, green yellow, red and orange.

Why would someone paint their junipers?

“They were dead,” he shrugged.

When Drebot noticed his backyard junipers browning, he contacted Brian Minter as well as a couple landscapers for advice. They all told him some juniper species only last a certain number of years.

At 28 years old, Drebot’s junipers had come to the end of their life cycle.

Drebot’s daughter told him he had to remove them, that it was bad karma to keep dead plants in the ground, she said.

But Drebot wasn’t yet ready to let go. He’d been raising his junipers, then just babies, ever since he purchased his house 22 years ago.

So, instead of digging them out, he bought $220 worth of spray paint, and 10-12 hours later, he had Skittles-coloured junipers that looked more like they belonged in a Dr. Seuss kids’ book than a Chilliwack yard.

“Instead of tearing them out, I figured I could get one more year out of them,” he said. “The paint is like glue, it holds [the branches] together.”

But because the trees are out in the open, exposed to all elements, Drebot doesn’t expect they’ll survive winter.

“One good ice storm and I’m sure they’re going to shatter,” he said.

The juniper trees weren’t Drebot’s first foray into plant artistry. A couple of years ago, he dug up his sedum plants that were also dying, dried them out, and spray painted them as well.

“They were dead so I figured I’d spray paint them and see what happened,” said Drebot, a mechanic by trade. “It’s just something different.”

The spray painted sedums are now an accent piece inside his house.

Drebot is not sure what his spray painting future will bring.

“I haven’t painted grass yet,” he laughed.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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