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Sunday, November 20, 2011

California Juniper refinements

Today I want to post a little about several California Junipers I've worked on in the last week or so.
The first one is a tree that was collected in Palmdale, CA in 1992 and was the first tree styled in a U.S. demo by Japanese bonsai master Kenji Miyata ,in I believe 1998. I acquired the tree the following year after it had been won in a raffle by someone who knew they didn't know what to do and were afraid they were killing it.
It was in pretty bad shape from being overwatered and in too much shade but a repotting and a few years of good care brought it back to health. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures through the years  like I try to now, so only a couple of images of this tree. This is a very special tree- it's probably close to 1000 years old and in a multi-trunk style not often seen in California Junipers. It presents a powerful image of an old weather beaten but growing strong tree. I'll let the foliage get somewhat fuller than it is now but not too much. I don't feel that trees with this much deadwood look natural with thick lush foliage masses.
Before trimming and wiring-
After trimming and wiring almost every single branch and twig-
I hoping with some strong fertilizing and staying up on the pinching and thinning this one will be ready to show in 1-2 years.

This next one was one of the easiest California Junipers I ever collected. In February of 2003 a road crew in Lancaster, CA had just bulldozed a small stand of junipers. I stopped and grabbed one before they chased me off.
This tree has always made me think of two dancers. Its young for a California Juniper -maybe 250 years or so but it has plenty of character, both in the deadwood and the movement of the trunks. It's always seemed a little heavy to me so in this stage of the work I concentrated on reducing some of the bulk and refining the image. For the next step I'll probably do a little carving  to accentuate the double trunks and finnish cleaning and treating the deadwood.
Here it is before the work-
This one is after the main trunk is wired. I'm using the towels to cover up branches I'm thinking about removing, so I can see what it'll be like if they were gone. It pays to be sure- once you cut it off there's no gluing it back. (Note - the deadwood looks so tan because I'm scrubbing off a buildup of lime sulphur that was  starting to fill the pores of the wood.)

After deciding that those branches would go.

After the trimming and wiring. I still need to move the apex of the main trunk forward and do a little carving on the trunk. Look for this one to be show ready in 2013.

This last one is one of my favorite trees of its size. Its got all the character of a much larger tree- great deadwood, powerful trunk, good branching and a convincing image of an ancient tree -in a tree only 24" tall. Many California junipers with these characteristics are almost twice that size. I collected this tree in Kern County, CA in 2003 and did the initial styling in 2006. After this work it ready for transplanting into a better slightly shallower, darker rectangular pot.
Before the work-

After trimming and wiring every branch-

I hope you all enjoyed seeing these trees today. I'm always interested in your comments or ideas for future posts. Wishing everyone in the US a Happy Thanksgiving. Until next time.