A New Pot for a Tall Juniper

Today, I re-potted this tall Blaauws Juniper into a nice Ian Baillie drum pot.

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When I acquired this tree in 2016, it was in poor condition as the previous owner had died and the tree had been neglected for a few years. This is how it looked at that time.

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By September of 2018 it had recovered sufficiently to begin some work on it. This is how it looked after the fist styling

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The new look required a change of planting angle and a new pot. The re-pot was carried out today. This is how it looks at the moment. A few more seasons to develop the foliage and the deadwood and this will be a really nice tree.

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Tall Juniper First Styling

This is a  Blaauws Juniper that I acquired locally from the family of an enthusiast who  had passed away. It was in poor health when I acquired it, having been neglected for several years previously. The following picture shows how it looked when I brought it home in February 2016. A lot of the foliage had died back and what remained had become quite extended, pale and thin. It was re-potted immediately and a feeding programme commenced to try and return the tree to full health. That was two and a half years ago.

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The next picture shows how the tree looked at the start of the day. The thin extended branches have been pruned off and the new growth is closer to the trunk line, much healthier and stronger.

The tree is now about 60 cm. tall. It has a long slender trunk line, slowly tapering towards the apex with slight movement to the right. The lower right hand side of the trunk is quite straight and there is a considerable distance between the base of the trunk and the first right hand branch.The nebari is uneven with 1 large, thick root extending to the left; the other radial roots are quite insignificant by comparison.

A relatively thin tree like this will never look its’ best with a full heavy canopy of foliage. Minimalism is what is required here, to make the most of the material.

 

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I have decided that this tree will be developed in the literati style; a style characterised by thin trunks and sparse foliage. Junipers are also enhanced by dramatic areas of deadwood. So the first task was to remove and jin all the branches that would not be critical to the perceived design. Many of the jinned branches were the connected by a shari running the length of the trunk. The following picture demonstrates the start of this stage.

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After thinning out the foliage, the remaining branches were wired and bent into position. The next picture shows how the tree looks at the moment. Its quite possible,when I next work on the tree that more branches will be removed to simplify the design even further, but I will leave that decision for another day.

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The next major job will be to re-pot and correct the planting angle next year. The next picture is a photo montage showing the tree rehoused in a nice Ian Baillie pot, which I am saving for this purpose.

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2 Years Development in a Blaauws Juniper

This is an update on a tree I acquired from good friend Philip Donnelly of Belfast Bonsai. He gave me the tree as a gift at Bonsai Europa 2015 but it was the Summer of 2016 before I could do any work on it.

The tree was full of thick branches, which were at awkward angles to the main trunk; excellent material for jins but no good for foliage pads. All of these were removed in 2016 when the tree was re-potted, leaving 1 single branch, which would provide all the future foliage.. The first picture was taken just after this work was completed.

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Jins and a shari were added in 2 stages over the following 12 months.

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Over the same period the tree was fed regularly with high nitrogen fertiliser to promote strong growth in the one branch that was retained to form the upper trunk after the chop back of 2016.

Like most trees, the crown tends to grow with more vigour than the other parts, so this area had to be thinned to allow the light to get down to the lower branches. You can see this in the next picture, which was taken this morning before foliage thining and wiring commenced.

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This is how it looks at moment after thinning and wiring the branches into position. It will be a few more years before the foliage pads have filled out and fully developed but for now, it’s easier to visualise where I intend to take this tree in the future

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Preparing Evergreens for the New Season

About a week ago I was thinking that Winter might be over, but its still very cold, wet and windy here. As I write this post, the snow is falling outside…again, there seems to be no end to it this year. Many of my deciduous trees, which were beginning to bud 2 or 3 weeks ago seem to have stalled, preferring to wait until the weather gets warmer. So this weekend I turned my attention to a couple of evergreens that needed some attention in preparation for the new season (whenever that may come).

The first one is a Blaauws Juniper that I acquired 2 years ago from the wife of a man who had passed away some years earlier. The first picture shows how it looked when I acquired it. It was in poor condition and much of the inner foliage and many branches  had died.

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I re-potted it immediately and started to give it a lot of high nitrogen fertiliser to restore the foliage colour and encourage back budding. My plan was to get new growth closer to the trunk and shorten all those branches which had become weak and over extended during the period that the tree was not being cared for. I have been following that plan for 2 seasons now and the result can be seen in the next picture.

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As you can see, the foliage colour has been restored and the tree is growing much stronger. Last year I was able to remove all of the weak leggy growth in the apex. The next picture shows how it looks at the moment after shortening some of the lower branches. It still needs a few more seasons to fill out but its getting there.

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The next tree today is a chuhin white pine that I have been styling for my friend Gerry. The next picture is a reminder of how it looked last year before any work.

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Our first task last year was to bend the apex into an alignment above the lower trunk. This was quite a severe bend but it had set in position by the end of the season This is how it looked after last seasons work.

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Its had a full seasons growth since that last picture was taken and needed some fine wiring to fill a few gaps and open up the foliage. This is how it looks at the moment.

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Another seasons growth and I will be really happy with this tree but I really need to find a good pot for it this year

Some Trees in Development

This post is looking at progress that has been made this year on trees I have been developing during my weekly sessions with Gerry.

The first is a Blaauws Juniper That was given to me as raw material by Philip Donnelly of Belfast Bonsai in 2015. It had a lot of thick branches that grew off the main trunk at awkward angles. The first job in 2016 was to cut it back to a simple outline retaining the one branch that was suitably positioned for the future development of a bonsai. This is how it looked at that time.

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Since this initial work I have been feeding the tree with high nitrogen fertiliser to promote strong growth in the foliage and I have also begun to create some jins from the branches that were removed and a shari on the main trunk. This work was done in stages over the past 12 months as the pictures will show.

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In the future, I intend to reduce the apex by about half and I hope to develop the tree as a semi-cascade.

The next tree is Gerry’s large hawthorn. It has good movement and taper in the trunk but at the start of this year it had very few branches and we hadn’t decided which side would be the front. We decided to plant it in a large box to push out lots of new growth. This is how it looked at the start of the season.

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This is how it looks at the moment after a full seasons growth in the box. The first picture shows what will probably be the new front

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The third tree today is a literati pine which was wired for the first time in August 2015. This proved to be a mistake as the weather following the initial styling was very hot and the tree suffered losing several  branches. This is how it looked at that time.

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It was rewired today having had 2 years to recover and the front is now at the opposite side

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This was the original tree in 2011

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Blaauws Juniper 2016 Update

I de-wired and pruned my big Blaauws Juniper at the weekend in preparation for another fine wiring to open up the foliage pads. I hope to complete this work over the festive period but things sometimes take longer than expected at this time of year with the short daylight hours and the preparations for Christmas and the New Year.

This is how it looks this morning with no wire on.

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This tree has come a long way in recent years and is almost at the stage where I might consider it finished, for the moment.

Here is a reminder of its’ progress

2014, after the second wiring

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2013, first styling for the current look

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2012, a different look

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Early 2012, my first attempt at styling this tree

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2011, the raw material

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Blaauws Junipers in development

Here are a few photographs of some blaauws juniper trees, which have joined my collection recently. Blaauws is my favourite variety of scale foliage juniper. It grows extremely well in our wet climate, is relatively problem free and the foliage colour is amazing.

The first was given to me, for free, last year by my Facebook friend Philip Donnelly from Northern Ireland. Since I have had it, its’ been re-potted into a good free draining soil mix and all the long heavy branches, which were growing too straight or at awkward angles to the lower trunk  have been removed. Unfortunately, that meant the removal of all of the branches except one, the weakest one. The plan for the immediate future is to feed it profusely to build up strength in the remaining branch.

This is how it looked after the branches were chopped off in June. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before I chopped the branches

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And This is how it looks at the moment

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The second tree is one that I acquired at the start of this year from a local person that had died. This tree, which I originally thought may have been a shimpaku, had been left to its own devices since the passing of its previous owner. It had become very leggy and most of the inner growth had died back.

This is how it looked when I acquired it.

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This is how it looks at the moment after lots of fertiliser and a season of growth

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It’s beginning to back bud well. The plan for the next few years is to continue to feed it and slowly push the growth closer to the trunk

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If I can get these trees to look half as good as the next one in the next five years I will be very happy.

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And finally for today, here are some cuttings, taken 3 years ago from the tree above, which are now ready for some wiring to introduce movement in the trunks.

Before wiring

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After wiring.It will be interesting to see how these turn out in the coming years.

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