This post is about the development of a shohin shimpaku juniper from Japanese, imported, partly worked material. I purchased the tree in September 2011. It was actually the first shohin material that I acquired and I wanted to use it as a learning exercise on the care and maintenance of small trees in small pots.The first picture shows how the tree looked when I brought it home.
It was in good health, so I decided that I would remove some of the lower branches to reveal the movement of the trunk and carry out some preliminary wiring to open up the remaining foliage. No more work was undertaken until late spring 2012.
In May 2012, I removed the tree from its training pot and re-potted it into this amazing crackle glazed pot by Andy Pearson of Stonemonkey Ceramics. I had recently purchased this when I attended my first British Shohin Association Show at Willowbog Bonsai Nursery in March of the same year.This is my favourite photograph of this tree taken in July 2012.
Shortly after this picture was taken the health and vigour of the tree seemed to go into decline. The tips of the foliage turned brown and the affected branchlets turned yellow. This was a condition that developed slowly over the next year. I have heard this condition described as a reaction to overworking the tree. While I believe this to be true, I have observed with other trees that the most significant factor in limiting the impact of this condition is the timing of a re-potting. Trees that are re-potted when the night time temperatures are warm seem to suffer less.
Towards the end of that year new foliage began to emerge from the intersection between branches and the health of the tree continued to improve throughout 2013. By may 2014 the tree was again growing with vigour and I was able to start work on a shari. The next picture shows how the tree is looking at the moment (June 2014). In the next year or so I would like to slowly reduce the mass of foliage to something closer to where it was in the previous picture