This is the tree, which for the past few years has been known as my workshop tree. It is the tree that I have used to learn the skills of wiring and design under the excellent guidance of masters like Steve Tolley and Marc Noelanders. It is one of the best documented trees in my collection, so by necessity, this post will be done in 2 parts.
I acquired this tree in September 2009 from Willowbog Bonsai Nursery the home of the British Shohin Associations annual exhibition. The first picture shows the tree soon after I got it home.
The tree’s height is 24 inches (61cm) from the top of the pot and the diameter of the trunk is about 3.5 inches (9cm) near the base. I had wanted a big juniper to add some quality to my ever increasing collection of sticks in pots for quite some time and I hoped that this might do the job. I didn’t do much to it in the first year other than improving the drainage in the pot to allow time for it to acclimatise in its new home.
In the summer of 2011 I took it to one of the monthly meetings at Willowbog to seek some advice on how to proceed with its development. The result of this was that the back of the tree became the new front and the branches were reduced considerably as you can see in the second picture.
Over the next few weeks I worked on some jins and the beginning of a shari, thinned the foliage some more and gave the tree its first full wiring. the third picture shows the progress by late summer 2011.
I then left the tree for a full year until the summer of 2012 to allow time for recovery. In picture four you can see that it has recovered well and the foliage mass has increased dramatically. Encouraged by this I decided that it was time to do some more work on the development of the shari.
At this stage, although its growing well, I am not that happy with the silhouette and further branch removal is necessary to lighten the image but which branches should be chopped? I used photoshop to visualise a few different options and finally decided on the virtual outline shown in picture five.
Decision made, the irreversible deed is done. The branch stubs are jinned and the tree is wired for a second time. Picture 6 shows the tree in 2012 at the end of the first stage in its development.
The second part of this post will focus on the major changes that were carried out on this tree under the guidance of Steve Tolley and Marc Noelanders